Is it wrong to topple statues and rename schools?

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In recent years, campaigns across the globe have called for the removal of objects symbolic of white supremacy. This paper examines the ethics of altering or removing such objects. Do these strategies sanitize history, destroy heritage and suppress freedom of speech? Or are they important steps towards justice? Does removing monuments and renaming schools reflect a lack of parity and unfairly erase local identities? Or can it sometimes be morally required, as an expression of respect for the memories of people who endured past injustices; a recognition of this history’s ongoing legacies; and a repudiation of unjust social hierarchies?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-88
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Political Theory and Philosophy
Early online date22 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Inaugural edition of Journal of Political Theory and Philosophy, with Cornel West, Steven Smith, John Searle, Ingvar Johansson, David Sidorsky, and Brad Hooker

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Black Humanities


  • social movements
  • protest
  • ideology
  • social philosophy
  • Public History
  • slavery
  • slavery and memory
  • decolonization
  • postcolonialism
  • social justice
  • heritage


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