ABSTRACT

The art historian George Kubler chose an unusual and humbling comparison to capture the importance of a lasting built environment for human life: “Like crustaceans we depend for survival upon an outer skeleton, upon a shell of historic cities and houses filled with things belonging to definable portions of the past.” 1 Along with providing shelter and utility, those material “portions of the past” perpetuate awareness of what has gone before us: an awareness of the individuals who lived and worked within their walls, the misfortunes they endured, and the triumphs they celebrated. Some structures—monuments and memorials in particular—are erected with this explicit purpose. Other structures, such as ruins, measure our creations (and ourselves) against time and change. This volume brings together work that considers our relationship to history and culture through the physical objects that invoke, commemorate, and honor the past. At its heart is a consideration of remembrance and loss, a topic that has been sharpened by recent global conflicts and the resulting devastation of architectural and cultural heritage.