The carceral side of freedom

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When nationalistic narratives implore citizens to recall progressive values in their history, as some American politicians have in the recent past, do we also remember the cost, and those at whose expense those values are gained? The historic site of Fort Snelling in Minnesota (USA) has been reconstructed and interpreted as a frontier fort, opening the west to settlers. Yet the site also has witnessed the failed promises to Native peoples, the ambivalent status of enslaved African Americans in non-slavery territories, and the struggles to belong by Japanese American soldiers whose rights as citizens had been abrogated. In this article I outline the challenges in remembering and acknowledging difficult aspects of history at this public heritage site which are often grounded in structures of whiteness. But I also consider the potentials for recognition, and perhaps healing and coalition-building, by shifting focus to the landscape and materiality of a carceral state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-655
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Issue number7
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • carceral states
  • conflicted heritage
  • military history
  • Minnesota U.S.A
  • U.S. settler colonialism

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