Japanese Memorial Cenotaph in Alor Setar Malaysia

Japanese War Memorial in Alor Setar


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

Calhoun College at Yale University

Renaming Calhoun College in Yale University


By Contested Histories Initiative

In 2015, Yale President Peter Salovey raised the issue of the namesake of Calhoun College during his address to incoming freshmen. The building had been named after a supporter of slavery, prompting university-wide debate about the value of changing the name of the residential building. While initially against a name… Read More

Matilda Newport Monument in Monrovia

Matilda Newport Statue in Monrovia


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

Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in Nanjing


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

Mohrentrasse Street Renaming in Berlin


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

Filipina Comfort Women in Manila


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

Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia, USA

Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia


By Contested Histories Initiative

In the years after the Confederate States of America (often referred to as the ‘Confederacy’) lost the American Civil War in 1865, several groups established memorials to Confederate leaders across the South. Five Confederate statues were erected on Monument Avenue in Richmond, once the capital of the Confederacy and 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


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

Jean Baptiste Colbert Statue in Paris


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


Rodolfo Graziani Monument in Affile


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