Colonialism

Japanese Memorial Cenotaph in Alor Setar Malaysia
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Japanese War Memorial in Alor Setar

Malaysia

By Contested Histories Initiative

In 1941, Japan occupied Malaysia in the context of World War II. That same year, they built a stone monument in Alor Setar to honour three Japanese soldiers who were killed while securing the city’s bridge to cut off Allied troops. The restoration of the memorial in 2019, officiated by… Read More

Indro Montanelli Statue in Milan
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Indro Montanelli Statue in Milan

Italy

By Contested Histories Initiative

The Indro Montanelli statue in Milan was built in 2006 by the then-mayor Gabriele Albertini. Initially, criticism arose for the funeral aesthetic and impression of the statue; some described it as a ‘funerary mummification.’ However, in the last years, it has been contested for Montanelli’s link to colonialism, fascism and… Read More

Matilda Newport Monument in Monrovia
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Matilda Newport Statue in Monrovia

Liberia

By Contested Histories Initiative

The Matilda Newport Monument in Monrovia, Liberia, commemorates the victory of American free Black settlers over the indigenous population in battle in 1822. The protagonist of the story, Matilda Newport, is credited with lighting a cannon that resulted in the defeat of the native people. The monument has stood in… Read More

Cross and Names Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in Nanjing
#32

Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in Nanjing

China

By Contested Histories Initiative

The Nanjing Memorial Hall commemorating the six weeks of Japanese occupation in the Sino-Japanese War remains a key point of contention in Sino-Japanese relations. This case study explores how contested historical events can lead to the construction of national identities and the impact and tension this can cause in spaces… Read More

Mohrenstasse Street Sign in Berlin
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Mohrentrasse Street Renaming in Berlin

Germany

By Contested Histories Initiative

This case study examines the renaming process of the street ‘Mohrenstraße’ to Anton-Wilhelm-Amo-Straße and its corresponding underground train station in Berlin, Germany. The decision to rename came after several years of debate and initiatives from various societal actors and academics, who stressed the racist character of the word ‘Mohr’ in… Read More

Filipina Comforto Women Statue in Manila
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Filipina Comfort Women in Manila

Philippines

By Contested Histories Initiative

Filipina Comfort Women was a statue erected on 8 December 2017 along Baywalk, Roxas Boulevard, in Manila. The contestation began days after the statue’s installation with a request for background information by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Japanese Minister for Internal Affairs and Communication Seiko Noda later regretted the… Read More

Teaching contested histories in Brazil: strategies and struggles to diversify the historical landscape of São Paulo

By Vinícius Borges Garcia Fonseca

Public Hearing with Ana Laura’s Collective Mandate and the Front in Defence of African Peoples and Communities at São Paulo’s State Legislative House. Picture taken on October 24, 2023. Available at: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cyw29A-tVCQ/?img_index=1. Interview conducted by Vinícius Borges Garcia Fonseca on May 11, 2023. DISCLAIMER: The following interview was conducted in… Read More

#409

Wartime Labourer Statue in Busan

Republic of Korea

By Contested Histories Initiative

First installed amidst clashes with local authorities on May 1, 2018, the Wartime Labourer Statue in Busan, Republic of Korea (South Korea), symbolises one aspect of the trauma left by Japanese colonialism. Initially planned to be erected in front of the Japanese Consulate General in the city, activists ignored the… Read More

Jean Baptiste Colbert Satue in Paris in France
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Jean Baptiste Colbert Statue in Paris

France

By Contested Histories Initiative

For many years, Jean-Baptiste Colbert was praised for his involvement in creating a strong French state. In recent years, however, this status has been called into question, notably concerning his involvement in laying the foundation of the Code Noir, a legal text which legitimised slavery in the French colonies. In… Read More

#85

Rodolfo Graziani Monument in Affile

Italy

By Contested Histories Initiative

A mausoleum inaugurated in August 2012 in the town of Affile, located in metropolitan Rome, has been subject to vandalism and protests by various anti-fascist groups. While the local right-wing mayor, Ercole Viri, claims that the publicly funded mausoleum was commissioned to honour Italian war veterans, the structure appears to… Read More

#50

Columbus Lighthouse in Santo Domingo

Dominican Republic

By Contested Histories Initiative

The Columbus Lighthouse of Santo Domingo is an enormous mausoleum which is said to contain Christopher Columbus’ remains. The first plans to build a monument to Columbus date back to the mid-nineteenth century, and a competition to decide the design of the project was launched in 1928. The final project… Read More