Monumental Change

Summer 2020 was a formative moment in American history and memory. Protests in response to the murder of George Floyd by several white Minneapolis police officers called for the removal of public symbols of white supremacy culture. While this was not the first time activists took to the streets demanding justice, what did distinguish this moment was the specific action: demonstrators across the United States began toppling monuments celebrating the Confederacy and other icons of racial and ethnic oppression. The importance of this historical moment is indisputable, but what does it mean to produce "monumental change"? Through an exploration of local (campus, city, and state-wide) sites and conversations with change-makers, students in this course will consider critical questions of how change takes place—how it is enacted and the forms it takes, focusing specifically on narrative, landscape, and curricula.

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  • Coursework Overview

    The coursework for this Endeavor community involves taking a one-unit course in the fall semester and a half-unit course in the spring semester, both taught by Dr. Maurantonio.

    Fall 2023 Semester Spring 2024 Semester
    FYS 100: Monumental Change (1 unit) IDST 190: Monumental Change Seminar (.5 unit)

    FYS 100 satisfies a general education requirement; students are required to take one first-year seminar (FYS) during each of their first two semesters at Richmond.

    IDST 190 is a half-unit project based course part of the Endeavor program.

  • Specific Course Information

    FYS 100: Monumental Change

    The removal ofthe Confederate statues lining Richmond’s Monument Avenue between summer 2020 and fall 2021 marked, for many, a moment of “monumental change,” gesturing to a transformation in the city’s built environment and reckoning with its past. While the symbolic power of the statues’ removal is indisputable, this course asks students to consider: What constitutes so-called “monumental change”? How does change take place? Over the course of the semester, students will visit sites of change and change-making throughout the city of Richmond while interacting with its change-makers, empowering students to position themselves as agents of change.

    IDST 190: Monumental Change Seminar

    Students will collaborate in teams to develop a final community-engaged project. Projects will be based on research conducted over the course of the academic year.

  • Faculty Information


    Dr. Nicole Maurantonio is a professor of Rhetoric and Communication Studies and American Studies.

  • Roadmap Short Course Information

    As part of the Endeavor program, you will participate in the popular Roadmap to Success pre-orientation program, where you will take a short course led by Dr. Maurantonio.

    Short Course Description: Streets, Spaces, & Symbols

    College campuses across the United States have, in recent years, been compelled to confront the question, “What’s in a name?” Joining a national conversation surrounding the meanings of the names of streets, spaces, and symbols, the University of Richmond, in March 2022, removed from six buildings the names of enslavers and people who supported segregation. This short course considers the meanings of public symbols such as building names and their potential to reflect as well as make change.