A Repulsive Monument to Stone Mountain and Black Resistance.


Stone mountain, Ku Klux Klan, Kelly Miller, Racism, Resistance


The “repulsive monument” is a textual genre invented by Gregory Ulmer. Repulsive monuments honor abject losses, which result from a collective’s behaviors but are disowned by the collective. Though memorializing the leaders of the Confederacy—Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis—as Stone Mountain does, is certainly repulsive in the conventional sense of the term, it is not a repulsive monument in the sense that Ulmer means because the collective (at least the group of its most politically dominant members) does not disown the leaders memorialized on Stone Mountain; rather, these Confederate leaders represent the collective’s highest values, which are white supremacist, militarist, and anti-Enlightenment values.

Repulsive monuments reveal the relationships between our values, behaviors, and losses. They recognize as sacred those abject losses that result from our behaviors. An example would be a monument to “by-catch” in the shrimp industry; the shrimpers may not be intending to catch other species, yet they do so at a rate of up to 15:1 in the U.S. By accepting and honoring such losses, we make possible the re-configuration of our identity, which includes our values and behaviors. Stone Mountain does not honor the abject (for instance, by recognizing the oppression of black people). Instead, it denies it.

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Mauer, Barry. “A Repulsive Monument to Stone Mountain and Black Resistance.” Rose Library Blog. https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/marbl/2017/05/23/a-repulsive-monument/

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College of Arts and Humanities


Orlando (Main) Campus