Ohio University

OHIO’s School of Communication Studies awards first-ever Zumkehr Prize for Public Memory

Published: May 28, 2020 Author: Staff reports

The 2020 Zumkehr Prize for Scholarship in Public Memory has been awarded to a team of researchers from seven universities in the United States.

Members of the winning team will share the $2,000 prize and the team’s lead researcher, Stephen Hanna, will be invited to share the team’s work in a public lecture at Ohio University during the 2020-21 academic year.

The Zumkehr Prize, supported by the Charles E. Zumkehr Professorship in Communication Studies in the School of Communication Studies in OHIO’s Scripps College of Communication, was awarded to the best article published in 2019 on a topic related to the study of public memory. This year’s winning article, “Following the Story: Narrative Mapping as a Mobile Method for Tracking and Interrogating Spatial Narratives,” was written by Stephen P. Hanna (University of Mary Washington), Perry L. Carter (Texas Tech University), Amy E. Potter (Georgia Southern University), Candace Forbes Bright (East Tennessee State University), Derek A. Alderman (University of Tennessee), E. Arnold Modlin (Norfolk State University), and David L. Butler (Middle Tennessee State University), and published in the Journal of Heritage Tourism.

I found their work groundbreaking,” Roger Aden, Charles E. Zumkehr Professor of Communication Studies, said. “They asked a question that no one had yet asked in public memory studies: How can we identify and critique spatial narratives across similar public memory sites?”

Aden said one reason the question had not previously been explored was the “immense amount of research” involved with this study; the research team completed 170 tours of plantation sites to inform the project’s exploration of communication patterns across memory sites.

The competition for this year’s prize, the first offered under the auspices of the Zumkehr Professorship, reflected the international and interdisciplinary study of public memory. Aden said the prize is designed to recognize scholarship that best accomplishes the following objectives: insightfully examines a vital question in public memory studies; thoughtfully engages the theoretical, critical, political or historical scholarship relevant to the question; generates possibilities for additional inquiry into other questions of public memory; and, expresses ideas in a manner accessible to scholars in more than one academic discipline.

“Dr. Hanna and his team, more so than the other excellent articles that were nominated, crafted an article that artfully accomplished each of these objectives,” Aden said.

The prize judges lauded this article’s cutting-edge methodological approach to the study of public memory places, which, according to one of the judges, “provides an example researchers in public history may usefully employ at other public history sites.”

Two articles were awarded with honorable mention designations for the 2020 Zumkehr prize. Erica Lehrer (Concordia University, Canada) and Monika Murzyn-Kupisz (Jagiellonian University, Poland) were recognized for their article, “Making Space for Jewish Culture in Polish Folk and Ethnographic Museums,” which was published in Museum Worlds, and Sokol Lleshi (University of New York Tirana, Albania) was recognized for his article, “Reconstructing the Past in a State-mandated Historical Memory Institute: The Case of Albania,” which was published in European Politics and Society.

A total of 20 articles were nominated for the prize. Those articles were published in 19 different journals and written by authors from eight different countries (Albania, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, United Kingdom, and United States) who work in nine different disciplines (Anthropology, Communication, English, Geography, History, Latin American Studies, Modern Languages, Political Science, and War Studies).

Three scholars served as the jury for this year’s competition: Patrick Hagopian, Senior Lecturer in History, University of Lancaster, UK; Nicole Maurantonio, Associate Professor of Rhetoric & Communication Studies and American Studies at the University of Richmond, USA; and Kirt H. Wilson, President of the Rhetoric Society of America, Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and African American Studies, Pennsylvania State University, USA.