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We Are Trauma's Children: Ritual, Narrative, and the Creation of Collective Identity with Lyra Monteiro

Lyra Monteiro will be speaking as part of the conference, "Soul Wounds: Trauma and Healing across Generations," held at Stanford on June 4-6. She is an Assistant Professor of History at Rutgers University.
Lyra D. Monteiro received her PhD from Brown University in 2012, and specializes in public humanities, early United States history, and race and ethnic identity. Her dissertation, “Racializing the Ancient World: Ancestry and Identity in the Early United States,” explored how ideas about antiquity were mobilized in the service of organizing race in a slaveholding republic predicated on equality but erected on exclusion and difference. Focusing on the period between the American Revolution and the start of the Civil War, it analyzed objects, performances, and spaces in the early United States in which Greece, Rome, and Egypt were evoked as racial ancestors of either white or black Americans, including: Egyptian mummies and classical sculptures displayed and studied in museums and medical schools; theatrical representations of ancient Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, and Egyptians; and the classicizing landscapes of southern slave plantations.
Dr. Monteiro also co-directs The Museum On Site, a public art project that aims to help people understand their worlds through site-specific, free public experiences that share ideas and information in accessible and stimulating ways. Previous projects have included an installation at the public festival WaterFire Providence, combining public performances and participatory ritual to address the history and legacy of Rhode Island’s transatlantic slave trade (; a photo-based diorama of a busy street in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, displayed in a store window with labels that shared stories from the past and present of the people, buildings, and things on two blocks (; and a pop-up museum that filled a real street with hundreds of museum labels about that street (
She has also worked on curatorial, education, and development projects for over a dozen museums and cultural institutions, including the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Harvard Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.



Friday, June 5, 2015. 01:00 PM


Levinthal Hall, Stanford Humanities Center


School of Humanities and Sciences, Humanities Center, History Department, Stanford Research Group on Collective Trauma and Healing, CREEES Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education


Free and open to the public. Conference registration can be found via the website link.