The 9/11 Memorial: Self and Identity, Space and Place

TITLE: The 9/11 Memorial: Self and Identity, Space and Place

CREATOR: Marissa Wong



Memory often defines the meaning and significance of a space. Historical memory in particular tell us which spaces are significant and which are sacred. Memorials, such as the 9/11 Memorial and Memorial Museum, establish spaces that invoke particular memories, emotions, and performances of memorialization. Though one may think the memories and emotions being invoked are their own, in reality memorials subtly reflect power dynamics, dominant discourses, and the politics of its creators. When inscribing space, memory and politics go hand in hand. Individuals must think critically about whose story is being told, what political motives the story may include, and how that story gained the power to silence others.

Memories, whether they be personal or historical, are never neutral. They are shaped by re-narrations, assumptions, and the needs of our ego during the process of retrieval. We must be wary of the power of memory, especially when it is inscribed in space, to perpetuate social dynamics that marginalize members of society. Those who control the dissemination of historical narratives and the transformation of space are able to influence what we remember and what we believe to be true. It is this power that has manufactured an inseparable link between the horrific attacks of 9/11 and the Islamic faith in the minds of many Americans. Only by fully understanding the implications of space and memorialization can we begin to deconstruct falsehoods relating to history, memory, and social groups embedded in our consciousness.


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A proud member of the Peace Studies community at Chapman University, Marissa’s interests include everything from post-conflict reconstruction to social justice to education reform. Outside of the classroom, Marissa can be found at SGI-Chapman (Buddhist club) meetings, running leadership development programs, and serving on the University Honors Program Advisory Board. Her future goals include empowering young peacemakers and becoming a professional coffee taster.

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