The great southern writer William Faulkner once remarked, "The past isn't dead. It isn't even past." Faulkner recognized the importance, the immediacy, the "presentness" of the past in contemporary southern, and, indeed, American culture. Representations of the past play a critical role in our present-day world. This upper-level seminar explores the representation of the American past in public monuments, visual images, films, museums, theme parks, and commemorative memorialization practices. We will explore why representations of the past matter and will particularly think about what the kinds of political work representations of the past do in the present. The course will also examine the ways in which historical memory influences the construction of individual, regional, and national identities. The class will particularly focus on how historical "truth" is constructed in particular representations of the past and how memorialization is itself a process, and often a contested one.