Kristin HassMar 26, 2023
Recognizing Racist Cultural Infrastructure in Memorials, Museums, and Patriotic Practices
Beacon Press 2022
Blunt Instruments: Recognizing Racist Cultural Infrastructure in Memorials, Museums, and Patriotic Practices (Beacon Press, 2022) provides a field guide to the memorials, museums, and practices that commemorate white supremacy in the United States—and how to reimagine a more deeply shared cultural infrastructure for the future.
Cultural infrastructure has been designed to maintain structures of inequality, and while it doesn’t seem to be explicitly about race, it often is. Blunt Instruments helps readers identify, contextualize, and name elements of our everyday landscapes and cultural practices that are designed to seem benign or natural but which, in fact, work tirelessly to tell us vital stories about who we are, how we came to be, and who belongs.
Examining landmark moments such as the erection of the first American museum and Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling pledge of allegiance, historian Kristin Hass explores the complicated histories of sites of cultural infrastructure. With sharp analysis and a broad lens, Hass makes the undeniable case that understanding what cultural infrastructure is, and the deep and broad impact that it has, is essential to understanding how structures of inequity are maintained and how they might be dismantled.
Jen Hoyer is Technical Services and Electronic Resources Librarian at CUNY New York City College of Technology and a volunteer at Interference Archive. Jen edits for Partnership Journal and organizes with the TPS Collective. She is co-author of What Primary Sources Teach: Lessons for Every Classroom and The Social Movement Archive.