Rhetorics Haunting the National Mall: Displaced and Ephemeral Public Memories vividly illustrates that a nation's history is more complicated than the simple binary of remembered/forgotten.
Some parts of history, while not formally recognized within a commemorative landscape, haunt those landscapes by virtue of their ephemeral or displaced presence.
Rather than being discretely contained within a formal sites, these memories remain public by lingering along the edges and within the crevices of commemorative landscapes.
By integrating theories of haunting, place, and public memory, this collection demonstrates that the National Mall, often referred to as "the nation's front yard," might better be understood as "the nation's attic" because it hides those issues we do not want to address but cannot dismiss.
The neatly ordered installations and landscaping of the National Mall, if one looks and listens closely, reveal the messiness of US history.
From the ephemeral memories of protests on the Mall to the displaced but persistent presences of inequality, each chapter in this book examines the ways in which contemporary public life in the US is haunted by incomplete efforts to close the book on the past.