The Rights of Memory: 9/11 and the “Ground-Zero Mosque”

CMGC was the principle organizer of a daylong civic dialogue about the social, religious, cultural, and political issues sparked by the controversial Cordoba Initiative/Park 51 project, the so called “ground zero mosque.”

Click here for the Rights of Memory program and blog

The question raised by the forum was what this civic Rohrschach revealed about the stakes at play in our collective memory of 9/11 and the competing visions of the society we imagined ourselves to be a decade later. Forum participants from diverse ethnic, religious, and occupational backgrounds (academics, students, journalists, museum curators, documentary photographers, and religious leaders) provided context and participated in the conversations that followed.

Students in Rutgers-Newark professor Ned Drew’s graphic design class created posters, public art, and a conference logo that addressed the complex issues raised by the “Ground-Zero Mosque” debate.

Photographer Jonathan Hyman screened and spoke about his photos documenting how, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the American landscape was transformed by public acts of mourning and memory making. Hyman’s photos depict the ways individuals and communities grappled with intense feelings of sorrow, anger, fear, and patriotism by expressing their private thoughts in public, visible ways, using elements of the landscape—buildings, cars, even their own bodies—as their canvas.

View Jonathon Hyman's video here.