Stolen Armor, Bullet Sculptures, Photos of the Dead: Soldiers’ Souvenirs, or The Things They Carried (Home): A Panel Discussion
Date: Tuesday, July 14th
Admission: $8 ( Tickets Here )
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third Avenue, 11215 Brooklyn NY
From the spoils and trophies of battle to the objects that are found, forged and filched from the war zone, armies have always carried or sent physical objects, as well as memories, home. This panel will ask: What do soldiers bring with them from battle and why? Through examining a series of military memorial objects from different periods of history, we will consider what is behind this impulse to transport souvenirs from the battlefield to the homefront or abroad, and to think about what status these things have, as artwork, talisman or sacred icon.
Joanna Scutts, “From Keepsake to Souvenir”
During WWI, British soldiers found themselves fighting alongside troops whose languages and cultures were entirely alienand who often seemed, to them, stranger than the enemy. Britain’s huge colonial troop mobilization meant that the war brought together soldiers from all over the world to fight together. Meanwhile, the years of immersion in a once-foreign land changed the languageobjects that soldiers saved to take home were no longer “keepsakes” or “mementos” but “souvenirs.” Joanna’s talk will explore how the art and literature produced by soldiers in the trenches reflected these new global encounters.
Lauren Walsh, “Souvenir, Trophy, Crime.”
Focusing on photography and war in the digital age, Lauren’s talk will examine the images created in/at war, considering what happens to theimages, the soldiers, other combatants, civilian victims, the public when the images make their way back home. She will also look at the evolving status and power of the image, especially images of, and from, conflict.
Susan Harlan, “Spoiling Soldiers’ Armored Bodies.”
Susan will discuss the spoiling or sanctioned theft of the arms and armor of defeated soldiers in battle during the English Renaissance. She will examine the afterlife of these militant objects, which were often reconstituted into trophies or haunting sculptural objects. These fragmented spoils of war became emblems of violence as well as material embodiments of memory, both personal and communal.
Susan Harlan is an English professor at Wake Forest University, where she specializes in Shakespeare. She writes about material culture and travel for venues including The Guardian, The Toast, The Morning News, Nowhere, Curbed, and Roads & Kingdoms.
Joanna Scutts is a literary critic and cultural historian based in Astoria, New York and a current board member of the National Book Critics Circle. She holds a PhD in English and
Comparative Literature from Columbia University and writes book reviews and features for The Washington Post, The Guardian US, The Daily Beast, and The New Yorker.com.
Lauren Walsh is an Assistant Professor at The New School and also teaches at NYU. She is co-editor of The Future of Text and Image (2012) and her book-in-progress, Look Away: Conversations on Conflict Photography and Public Apathy, explores aspects of war photography. She is a CNN commentator on digital culture, and specializes in journalism, memory studies, and visual culture. She’s particularly interested in the ethics and politics of photography.