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What's in a Name?: Renaming at Stanford

Jordan Hall
Image credit: Katherine Chesley

The Stanford Historical Society tackles a difficult but appropriate question that many institutions (universities, city governments, and school districts) are facing: Why and how should the names of buildings, centers, streets and monuments be removed and, if so, what names should replace them? Rather than cancelling history, the question forces us to look more carefully into our past. In this panel discussion, law professor Bernadette Meyler, who chaired the University’s Advisory Committee on Renaming Jordan Hall and Removing the Statue of Louis Agassiz, shares how the process has worked recently at Stanford, including arguments both for and against renaming. Professor Meyler is joined in conversation by Karen Biestman, Associate Dean and Director of the Stanford Native American Cultural Center and Lecturer in Native American Studies, who speaks about the Father Serra Renaming experience and Grant Parker, Associate Professor of Classics, who speaks from the perspective of similar issues in South Africa.

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