University Relations and Communications


October 2, 2017

 workers and a crane preparing to remove a Confederate monument


Civil Conversations Series: Confederate Monuments Panel Discussion on Tuesday, October 10 from 7 PM - 8:30 PM at the Billings Public Library



University Relations and Communications, 657-2266


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — In the past few months, debates surrounding the removal of Confederate monuments have appeared in the national and local media, sparking conversations about the role of history, memory, and commemoration.  On Tuesday, October 10, from 7 PM - 8:30 PM, historians from Montana State University Billings and Rocky Mountain College will discuss the historical context and varied meanings of the Confederate monuments as part of the “Civil Conversations” series hosted by the Billings Public Library.  The panel consists of MSUB historians, Dr. Emily Arendt and Dr. Joseph Bryan, and RMC historians Dr. Tim Lehman and Dr. Jenifer Parks.  Dr. Keith Edgerton, chair of the Department of History at MSUB, will moderate the discussion, which will take place in the Royal Johnson Community Room at the public library. 


Panelists will answer questions related to the creation of Confederate monuments, their role in shaping historical memory, and contemporary debates on their removal, such as:

  • Who created monuments and for what purpose?
  • What role do monuments play in the creation of historical memory?
  • Why are some communities asking for their removal, while others protest?
  • What other instances of monument removal can help us work through this debate?
  • How do we understand the function of monuments at the local, national, and even global level?

Dr. Emily Arendt, Assistant Professor of History at MSUB noted that “What historians do is so often restricted to the academic realm, but this provides a clear example of how history relates to contemporary society and is a great chance for professional historians to interact with the public on a topic that is important to everyone.”  While many people might believe this issue is relegated to the American south, the discussion over the monument in Helena reminds us that we are part of a larger conversation.  “Markers and material symbols tell us something crucial about the past, but they are not sacrosanct and rarely innocuous,” stated Dr. Joseph Bryan, Assistant Professor of History at MSUB.  Join historians from MSUB and RMC as they discuss this interesting and important issue.


This is a free event sponsored by the Billings Public Library and Montana State University Billings.  For more information please contact Gavin J. Woltjer, Library Director, 406-657-8292 or Dr. Jennifer Lynn, MSUB Department of History,  or 406-657-2922.


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