Zumkehr Prize

2024 Zumkehr Prize Winners

The 2024 Zumkehr Prize for Scholarship in Public Memory has been awarded to Daniele Salerno and Marit van de Warenburg of Utrecht University in The Netherlands. They earn both a $2000 prize and an invitation to share their work in a lecture at Ohio University during the 2024-25 academic year.

The Zumkehr Prize, supported by the Charles E. Zumkehr Professorship in Communication Studies at Ohio University, was awarded to the best article—as adjudicated by a three-member international and interdisciplinary jury of scholars—published in 2023 on a topic related to the study of public memory. Salerno and Van de Warenburg’s article, “‘Bella ciao’:  A portable monument for transnational activism,” was published in the academic journal, International Journal of Cultural Studies.

Salerno and Van de Warenburg’s research examined the adaptation of the Italian anti-fascist protest song, “Bella ciao,” by a variety of activist groups around the globe. Those groups, Salerno and Van de Warenburg discovered, engaged in a practice called contrafacta or the substitution of a song’s lyrics while keeping its musical characteristics intact. After tracing the song’s adaptations through decades of use in several nations, Salerno and Van de Warenburg detail its recent appropriation by feminist activists in Spain, Argentina, and Poland “to build their repertoire of protest against femicide and in favor of abortion rights.” The song, Salerno and Van de Warenburg argued, “is continuously rewritten, reused, and relocated in different and new contexts and media, and for a range of causes,” making it—as the title of their article notes—“a portable monument to transnational activism.”

As one of the competition judges noted, Salerno and Van de Warenburg’s article points out how, “as a portable and adjustable monument, ‘Bella Ciao’ transports the reader to the streets and squares where the struggle for freedom embraces the musical dimension of memory. This study invites scholars to think of globalized networks of memory making and the new ecologies where music mediates rhetorical maneuvers.”

The competition for this year’s prize, offered under the auspices of the Zumkehr Professorship, reflected the widespread international and interdisciplinary interest in the study of public memory. Scholars from 12 disciplines—working in eight nations—entered the contest.

The runner-up in this year’s contest was Andrea Hepworth (researcher/analyst for the Waitangi Tribunal at the Ministry of Justice in Wellington, New Zealand) and her article, “Memory Activism as Advocacy for Transitional Justice: Memory Laws, Mass Graves and Impunity in Spain,” which was published in the International Journal of Transitional Justice.

Three scholars served as the jury for this year’s competition: Teresa Bergman, Chair and Professor, Department of Communication, University of the Pacific, USA; Kenneth Foote, Professor, Department of Geography, University of Connecticut, USA; Luis Miguel López Londoño, Assistant Professor at the School of Communication and Journalism, Universidad de Manizales, Colombia.

For more information, please contact: Dr. Roger C. Aden, Charles E. Zumkehr Professor of Communication Studies, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701

2023 Zumkehr Prize Winner

The 2023 Zumkehr Prize for Scholarship in Public Memory has been awarded to Professor Amy Sodaro of the Borough of Manhattan Community College, The City University of New York. Professor Sodaro earns both a $2000 prize and an invitation to share her work in a lecture at Ohio University during the 2023-24 academic year.

The Zumkehr Prize, supported by the Charles E. Zumkehr Professorship in Communication Studies at Ohio University, was awarded to the best article—as adjudicated by a three-member international and interdisciplinary jury of public memory scholars—published in 2022 on a topic related to the study of public memory. Professor Sodaro’s article, “Race, Memory and Implication in Tulsa’s Greenwood Rising,” was published in the academic journal, Memory Studies.

Professor Sodaro’s research examined the Greenwood Rising museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Sodaro’s work illustrates how the museum, which recounts the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, joins in a global movement to remember episodes of hate-driven violence. As Sodaro points out, the museum’s story connects the massacre to systemic racism, although the telling of that story—at a cost of $20 million—frustrated some who felt that the funds could have been better used to financially compensate the families of those killed in the massacre. The museum, she writes, “has supporters who believe it provides an important form of acknowledgement” and detractors who “feel that the museum is a political project meant to replace monetary reparations and foreclose ongoing confrontation with racial injustice by relegating it to the past.”

Second place in the competition was awarded to Julia M. Medhurst (Texas A & M University), Asha S. Winfield (Louisiana State University), and Tina M. Harris (Louisiana State University) for their article, “‘I Wish I Had A Time Machine’: Looking B[l]ackward at ABC’s The Wonder Years (2021) through the Recuperation of Black Public Memory & Afro-Nostalgia,” which was published in the Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric. They will receive a $500 prize for their work.

The competition for this year’s prize, offered under the auspices of the Zumkehr Professorship, reflected the widespread international and interdisciplinary interest in the study of public memory. Scholars from 13 disciplines—working in 15 nations—entered the contest. Their work was published in 21 different academic journals.

Three scholars served as the jury for this year’s competition: Ulrike Capdepón, Researcher, Center for Cultural Inquiry at Universität Konstanz, Germany; Greg Dickinson, Professor and Chair, Department of Communication Studies at Colorado State University, USA; Jennifer Ladino, Professor, Department of English at the University of Idaho, USA.

For more information, please contact: Dr. Roger C. Aden, Charles E. Zumkehr Professor of Communication Studies, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701.

2022 Zumkehr Prize Winner

The 2022 Zumkehr Prize for Scholarship in Public Memory has been awarded to Nicola Cloete, Senior Lecturer in the Wits School of Arts, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Professor Cloete earns both a $2000 prize and an invitation to share her work in a public lecture at Ohio University during the 2022-23 academic year.

The Zumkehr Prize, supported by the Charles E. Zumkehr Professorship in Communication Studies at Ohio University, was awarded to the best article published in 2021 on a topic related to the study of public memory. Professor Cloete’s article, “Digestible Memories in South Africa’s Recent Past: Processing the Slave Lodge Museum and the Memorial to the Enslaved,” was published in the International Journal of Heritage Studies.

Professor Cloete’s research examined how two memory sites in Cape Town, South Africa—a permanent exhibition called “Representing Slavery” at the Slave Lodge Museum and the Memorial to the Enslaved in Church Square—produce “a palatable narrative of slavery . . . [that is] recast into the reconciliation narrative of post-apartheid” South Africa. Specifically, argues Professor Cloete, the brutality and atrocities of institutional slavery are largely forgotten within these two memory sites as South Africa re-imagines itself as a post-apartheid nation devoted to human rights: “The indigestible narrative of slavery as a separate and earlier system with its own harsh and lasting impacts on the life of the nation . . . is ultimately transformed into the more palatable narrative of how slavery produces ‘cultural diversity.’”

The jury members for this year’s prize competition described Professor Cloete’s work as “eloquently written, with unmasked energy revealing deep engagement into the overshadowed issue of slavery” in South Africa. The article vividly illustrates how the nation’s history of slavery is “domesticated to cohabitate within South Africa’s prevailing ‘peace, equality, and justice’ narrative.” In short, her work is “a masterpiece of critical memory studies” that “should be read by anyone interested in the difficult terrain of memory, trauma, and oppression.”

The competition for this year’s prize, offered under the auspices of the Zumkehr Professorship, reflected the international and interdisciplinary study of public memory. Scholars from four disciplines—working in Israel, South Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom—entered the contest.

Three scholars served as the jury for this year’s competition: Perry Carter, Associate Professor of Geography at Texas Tech University, USA; Kendall Phillips, Professor of Communication and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University, USA; and Roma Sendyka, Founding Director of the Research Center for Memory Cultures, Jagiellonian University, Poland.

For more information, please contact: Dr. Roger C. Aden, Charles E. Zumkehr Professor of Communication Studies, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701.

2021 Zumkehr Prize Winner

The 2021 Zumkehr Prize for Scholarship in Public Memory has been awarded to Ñusta Carranza Ko, Assistant Professor of Global Affairs and Human Security in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, USA. Professor Ko earns both a $2000 prize and an invitation to share her work in a public lecture at Ohio University during the 2021-22 academic year.

The Zumkehr Prize, supported by the Charles E. Zumkehr Professorship in Communication Studies at Ohio University, was awarded to the best article published in 2020 on a topic related to the study of public memory. Professor Ko’s article, “South Korea’s Collective Memory of Past Human Rights Abuses,” was published in the December 2020 issue of the journal Memory Studies.

Professor Ko’s research compared the findings of the South Korean Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s investigation into past human rights abuses in that country and the national history textbook’s treatment of those abuses. Professor Ko concluded that the state-sponsored textbook’s “decision to emphasize one truth over another contradicts the [commission]’s efforts at straightening the distorted history of Korea’s human rights abuses. . . . In other words, recovering the dignity of victims through the production of truth commission based memory has been placed secondary to that of political interests.”

The jury for this year’s prize competition praised Professor Ko’s work because it “demonstrates the interrelationships among memory, politics, education, and reparative justice.” Moreover, her work “bears potential implications, not only theoretically, but practically, perhaps even politically, not only for Korea but for other contexts as well.”

In addition, the judges commended the work of the runners-up in this year’s competition. Erica Lehrer (Concordia University, Canada) and Roma Sendyka (Jagiellonian University, Poland) were recognized for their article, “Arts of Witness or Awkward Objects? Vernacular Art as a Source Base for ‘Bystander’ Holocaust Memory in Poland,” which was published in Holocaust Studies.

The competition for this year’s prize, offered under the auspices of the Zumkehr Professorship, reflected the international and interdisciplinary study of public memory. A total of 27 articles were nominated for the prize. Those articles were published in 19 different journals and written by authors from 10 different countries (Canada, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, United Kingdom, and United States) who work in 10 different disciplines (Communication, Culture/Media, Economics, English, Geography, History, Journalism, Political Science, Slavic and Eastern European Studies, and Social Sciences and Historiography).

Three scholars served as the jury for this year’s competition: Patricia Davis, Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern University, USA; Steve Hanna, Professor of Geography at University of Mary Washington, USA; and Jocelyn Martin, Assistant Professor of English at Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines.

For more information, please contact: Dr. Roger C. Aden, Charles E. Zumkehr Professor of Communication Studies, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701.

2020 Zumkehr Prize Winners

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 $2000 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 at Ohio University, 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, USA), Perry L. Carter (Texas Tech University, USA), Amy E. Potter (Georgia Southern University, USA), Candace Forbes Bright (East Tennessee State University, USA), Derek A. Alderman (University of Tennessee, USA), E. Arnold Modlin (Norfolk State University, USA), and David L. Butler (Middle Tennessee State University, USA), and published in the Journal of Heritage Tourism.

The prize judges lauded this article’s cutting-edge methodological approach to the study of public memory places, which, according to one judge, “provides an example researchers in public history may usefully employ at other public history sites.” Added another judge, “Its innovative approach to the study of heritage sites is a model for future research.” “Narrative mapping,” noted the third judge, “will surely transform the study of public memory through its application to a variety of case studies and deep sensitivity to space, storytelling, and historical curation.”

In addition, two articles were honored with honorable mention designations. 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 Worldsand 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.

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. 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.