Hi! Welcome to my site about my senior thesis on hybrid memorials. Below you can watch a video of mine from one of my visits to the 9/11 Memorial.

Out of all the new construction being built at Ground Zero, the 9/11 Memorial was the first to be completed. Despite the amount of commercial space being constructed at the site, the fact that the memorial was prioritized and finished in time for the tenth anniversary of September 11th is a testament to the cultural and social significance of public spaces for mourning and remembrance. Memorial architecture, specifically built out of tragedy, is an extremely important type of public art that allows communities to grieve while also allowing them to remember and never forget their loss. Although many scholars pay close attention to the meaning of memorials during their initial constructions and openings, tracking how the meanings of the memorials change as well is just as important. This emphasis in change is countered by Judith Dupre’s statement that “monuments are about resolution, the outward sign that finally all has been said and done.”[1]This statement is problematic because this implies that the memorial has a fixed symbolic purpose. This view of memorials leaves out the significant roles that memory, time, and culture play in shaping our understanding of these spaces. I argue that the value of memorials is best understood by examining them as symbolically hybrid structures. Hybrid spaces have the potential to change in symbolic meaning and allow us to best understand memorials as endlessly shifting symbols. From this perspective, memorials that achieve the highest level of hybridity are the most effective at evoking memories and leaving lasting impressions for visitors.

[1] Judith Dupre, Monuments (New York: Random House, 2007), Foreword.

View footage from a visit to the 9/11 Memorial below:


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