Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Degree Program

Humanities, PhD

Committee Chair

Salamensky, Shelley

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Gibson, John

Committee Member

Gibson, John

Committee Member

Hufbauer, Benjamin

Committee Member

Kelland, Lara

Author's Keywords

memorials; 9-11; narrative; collective memory


In this dissertation I examine the role that monuments and memorials play in our lives including artistically, historically, and culturally. I begin by examining what monuments and memorials are and how these public works should be their own classification of public art. I argue there are many things these works can be (place of mourning, celebration, historical marker, etc.) and should not be (a single source for a historical accounting); yet, memorials do have the necessary condition of creating a referential relationship between the viewer and the memorialized objects. Without this relationship, the work fails as a memorial. Memorials are often looked to provide a historical accounting of these memorialized objects, but they should do so in a way that creates a narrative framework that gives the viewer the essential information while still allowing her the freedom to choose how to experience the work. These claims are explored through an in-depth analysis of the three, site specific, National 9/11 Memorials in New York City, Washington D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Chapter One defines and explains the necessary terminology as it will be used throughout the project. This includes creating a list of things a memorial should and should not do and why the narrative a memorial produces is so important. Chapter Two takes these ideas and analyzes the three, National 9/11 Memorials according to these guidelines. Chapter Three takes this analysis further by comparing the three memorials to one another to show how and where each can improve. Chapter Four then explores more practical applications of the works including their role as tools for healing both as therapeutic memorials and through restorative justice practices. Finally, ownership and financial responsibilities are discussed. This includes an exploration of Death Tourism and its application to memorials as tourist destinations.