Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

ECU Voyages Brewster Forum

National Debate Surrounding Memorials, Historical Memory

January 12, 2016

By Lacey Gray
Director of Marketing and Communications
Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences

Derek Alderman & Alfred Brophy
From Confederate flags on license plates and statehouse grounds, to the names of buildings, there is a growing national debate related to monuments and memorials. Two guest panelists, who will visit East Carolina University in January 2016, will explore the legal, historical, geographical and cultural perspectives for considering both the advantages and dangers in renaming or removing monuments and memorials.

Professor of Geography at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and former ECU Professor of Geography, Dr. Derek Alderman, and Dr. Alfred Brophy, the Judge J. Parker Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law, will engage in an interview-style dialogue on the theme, "What's in a Name?: Memorials and Historical Memory," at 7:30 p.m., Jan. 26, 2016, in ECU's Hendrix Theatre.

ECU Professor of History Dr. Gerry Prokopowicz will moderate the Brewster Forum, which is part of the 2015-16 Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series. At the conclusion of the event, members of the audience will be invited to participate in a question and answer session.

Dr. Jeffrey Johnson, director of the Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series, said, "This forum will undoubtedly provide a stimulating and thought-provoking exchange of ideas."

The panelists concurred on a joint statement, saying "more important than any yes/no decision we make about removal is an accurate history that respects how we got where we are and that helps guide us for the future."

Alderman is a cultural and historical geographer interested in public memory, popular culture and heritage tourism in the U.S. South. Much of his work focuses on the efforts by African Americans to claim the power to commemorate the past and shape cultural landscapes as part of a broader goal of social and spatial justice. His work spans many aspects of the southern landscape, including Civil Rights memorials, slavery and plantation heritage tourism sites, NASCAR, Graceland and Memphis, Mayberry and film tourism, and the cultural geography of kudzu.

In August 2012, Alderman joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee after serving as a professor of geography at ECU since 2000. Alderman received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.

Brophy has written extensively on race and property law in colonial, antebellum and early 20th Century America. He is the author or co-author/editor of six books on race reparations, property law and American legal history. In addition, he has published extensively in law reviews.

Before entering teaching in 1994, Brophy was a law clerk to Judge John Butzner of the United States Court of Appeals (Fourth Circuit), practiced law with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher &Flom in New York, and was a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities at Harvard University. Brophy joined the UNC faculty in 2008, from the University of Alabama. Brophy received his A.B. from the University of Pennsylvania, a J.D. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Co-sponsors of the Brewster Forum include the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, THCAS Department of History, ECU's Division of Academic Affairs, Division of Health Sciences, Division of Research, Economic Development and Engagement, Division of Student Affairs and the Honors College.

The forum is free to all attendees. No tickets are required. Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the event.

For additional information about the Voyages series and its speakers, visit More information about Harriot College is available at