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History Dept., Herter Hall Room 612
University of Massachusetts
161 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003-9312

Tel. 413.545.1330
Fax. 413.545.6137


Exhibit: Why Guantánamo?

Herter Gallery, UMass-Amherst
Open September 11 - October 9, 2013

(Public forum dates)

UMass Amherst will be the first place in New England to host a national touring exhibition, Why Guantánamo? on the controversial Guantánamo Bay military facility and prison. Sponsored by the Guantánamo Public Memory Project, which is based at Columbia University and led by Liz Sevcenko, and with the participation of UMass faculty and students, Why Guantánamo? introduces visitors to the full story of Guantánamo – as a Cuban city, a U.S. military base, a humanitarian refugee center, and a controversial prison where suspected terrorists have been incarcerated, sometimes tortured, and often held without a trial or even legal counsel. The continuing debate over these prisoners, their treatment, and the very existence of the prison has been a flashpoint in American politics for a decade; the military base itself has been controversial since it opened a century ago.

Why Guantanamo
The exhibition of thirteen large panels as well as video testimonies and interactive features will open in the Herter Gallery on September 11 and will be accompanied by a panel discussion at 4 pm in the Bernie Dallas Room of Goodell Hall on the UMass Amherst campus, and reception at 6 pm in the gallery.

“Our goal is to promote an understanding of the history of Guantánamo and provide a space for public debate around one of the most controversial issues in American politics today,” said Max Page, Director of Historic Preservation Initiatives at UMass. “We think one way the campus should remember 9/11 is to have an open discussion about some of the legacies of that day.”

The exhibition will be accompanied by four public forums, one each Wednesday at 4 pm during the exhibition’s run.

Public Forums (all 4PM)
September 11:
“The Clash of National Security and Civil Liberties,” Jameel Jaffer, Director of the Center for Democracy at the American Civil Liberties Union, and Akhil Reed Amar, Yale University Law School. Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Hall.
September 18: “Guantánamo: An American History,” Jonathan Hansen, Lecturer in Social Studies, Harvard University. Herter Hall 601.
September 25: “Guantánamo From Both Sides of the Fence,” Jana Lipman, Associate Professor of History, Tulane University; Jeff Johnston, former Public Works Officer at the United States Naval Station, Guantánamo Bay (2004-2009), Alberto Jones, Cuban employee at the base. Herter Hall 231.
October 2: “Learning from Guantánamo,” James Yee, former United States Army Chaplain, United States Naval Station, Guantánamo Bay; Buz Eisenberg, Attorney representing detainees at Guantanamo; Fredalene Bernhardy Dowd, former resident of the naval base. Cape Cod Lounge of the Student Union.

More information is available here.

This exhibition is sponsored by the Guantánamo Public Memory Project, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for University Relations, and the following UMass departments and programs: Architecture + Design Program, History, the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute, Middle Eastern Studies, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and the Center for Public Policy and Administration.


Image: David Glassberg, Marwa Amer, and Jonathan Haeber with a UMass-created panel of Why Guantánamo?. The exhibit is curated in part by UMass Public History, Architecture, and Historic Preservation students Marwa Amer, Jonathan Haeber, Ariane Davisson, John Dickson, Jill Dwiggins, and Kathryn Wetherbee.