Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Robert Benford, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Donileen Loseke, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, Ph.D.


Collective memory, Culture, Emotions, Identity, Narrative, White Supremacy


In this thesis I examine the reproduction of nationalism and white supremacy within Confederate monument removal (CMR) storytelling, and the ways collective identity and emotions are implicated within these reproductions. Using reader generated CMR narratives published in a Southern newspaper, the Augusta Chronicle, I conduct narrative analysis in order to identify key story elements, moral arguments, and cultural codes present in the public CMR debate. Findings indicate that two sharply contested narratives emerge during this debate, one calling for the protection of Confederate monuments and one calling for the removal of Confederate monuments. Further, though these contested stories produce opposing moral value judgements of Confederate monuments, they rely on similar cultural and emotion codes, frames, and rhetorical moves which reproduce nationalism and white supremacy. Through reifying national mythologies, constructing individuals as citizens, rhetorically isolating racism and slavery, and reproducing racialized capitalism, CMR narratives on both sides of the debate become sites where nationalism and white supremacy are perpetuated. These findings indicate that there is an important relationship between collective memory and cultural meaning-making processes related to identity and emotions. Further, findings also suggest that collective memory narratives, particularly contested or oppositional narratives, are important sites facilitating continuity in hegemonic systems. Because of their key role in perpetuating nationalism and white supremacy, it is possible that collective memory narratives may also be spaces where the interruption of hegemonic systems can also be facilitated.

Included in

Sociology Commons