What’s in a Name? A State Historian’s Roundtable on Controversial Monuments and Place Names

In Partnership With:

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Supported by: The Betsy Hitchcock Fund


Doors: 6:30

Show: 7:00


Monuments and place names transmit stories, knowledge, and values from one generation to the next. But what happens when generational values shift about who, or what, deserves to be commemorated? Join Colorado’s State Historian’s Council for a lively discussion about controversial monuments and place names and how we might address them today.



Dr. Claire Oberon Garcia is a professor of English at Colorado College. Dr. Garcia’s research focuses on Black history portrayed through literature, including an emphasis on women of the Black Atlantic in the beginning of the twentieth century. She is the co-editor of many notable works, including Uncle Tom’s Cabin and The Help: White Authored Narratives of Black Life, and her work has appeared in The Colorado Magazine and Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, among others. As a scholar and teacher, Dr. Garcia is particularly interested in the archives of the marginalized, the silenced and the “expendable” who did not have access to official institutions and dominant power structures.


Dr. Nicki Gonzales is a professor of history and vice provost for diversity and inclusion at Regis University. Her research interests include the American Southwest; the Chicano Movement in Colorado; Chicano social, political, legal, and environmental activism; and the history of land grant communities. She has served as an advisor for History Colorado’s exhibits El Movimiento: The Chicano Movement in Colorado and Zoom In: The Centennial State in 100 Objects. Dr. Gonzales is History Colorado’s appointee to the Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board established by Governor Polis in July 2020.


Dr. Susan Schulten is Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Denver, where she has taught since 1996. Dr. Schulten’s research innovatively uses old maps to tell new stories about history. Dr. Schulten has also authored multiple books, including A History of America in 100 Maps, which examines how maps can reveal new angles on our past and Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth-Century America, that explores how maps transformed American life by organizing information. Her work has been supported by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her most recent work, Emma Willard: Maps of History, examines one of the nineteenth-century’s most influential educators. For several years, Dr. Schulten has also served as an editor for History Colorado’s podcast, Lost Highways.


Dr. William Wei is a professor of history at the University of Colorado Boulder. He was the founding editor-in-chief of the online Colorado Encyclopedia and has held various national and international fellowships. His work focuses primarily on modern China, with research interests in Asian Americans. His latest book, Asians in Colorado: A History of Persecution and Perseverance in the Centennial State, was a finalist for the 2017 Colorado Authors’ League Award for General Nonfiction. He was a lead advisor on History Colorado’s Zoom In exhibition in 2016–2017, and is the author of the exhibition’s companion book, Becoming Colorado: The Centennial State in 100 Objects. He received the Asian American Hero of Colorado Award from the Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network in 2022.


Jason Hanson is the Chief Creative Officer and Director of Interpretation and Research at History Colorado, where he also serves as the Deputy State Historian on the State Historian’s Council. At History Colorado, he works with talented colleagues to create award-winning and groundbreaking exhibitions, actively build a collection that reflects the stories of all who have called Colorado home, and publish innovative original scholarship about Colorado history. He has led numerous exhibition projects and written widely on topics such as the role of monuments in society, the origins of the modern workplace, what we’ll remember about 2020, gender roles in Utopian communities, Denver Water, environmental history, baseball, and beer. He is a member of the America 250 – Colorado 150 Commission helping the state get ready for our Sesquisemiquincentennial in 2026. Prior to joining History Colorado, he was a member of the research faculty at the Center of the American West at CU Boulder.


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