Guantánamo Public Memory Project

Curating Guantánamo: Public History and Public Awareness

The U.S. naval station on Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. Image courtesy of Library of Congress.

“Guantánamo” has become an international symbol of the United States’ War on Terror and a lightning rod for debates about torture, detention, national security, and human rights. But the US naval station at Guantánamo Bay – also known by its military acronym “GTMO” or its nickname, “Gitmo” – was part of American politics and policy for a century before 9-11.  And it has been “closed” several times, only to be put to new use. How was GTMO used before? How does that shape what could — and should — happen next?

From 2011-12, students at 11 universities around the country asked:  what can GTMO’s history tell us about what’s happening now – there, and here at home?  They dug through historical archives; talked to people who worked there, lived there, were detained there, or advocated for those who were; and explored how GTMO relates to issues, people, and places in their own community.

The result is a nationally-traveling public exhibit on Guantánamo that is coming to Rutgers University, New Brunswick on February 19, 2013. Please see our schedule of events to see the exhibit and join the national dialogue!

See the Exhibit

February 18 – March 29, 2013, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, Douglass Library Atrium

If you are teaching a course and are interested in visiting the exhibit, please email Andy Urban at to schedule a guided tour.

Join the National Dialogue

Poetic Justice: The Shades of Guantánamo

Thursday, March 28, 2013, 7- 9PM

Mabel Smith Douglass Reading Room, Douglass Library

Organized and performed by Rutgers undergraduate students, “Poetic Justice” uses art, poetry, oral histories, and legal testimony from GTMO to highlight the voices of detainees at the base.


Friday, March 29, 2013, 9AM – 5PM

Alexander Library Teleconference/Lecture Hall, 4th Floor


Confirmed speakers for the conference include:

Baher Azmy, Center for Constitutional Rights

Elizabeth Campisi, SUNY Albany

David Carlson, University of Texas, Pan American

Jonathan Hansen, Harvard University

Jana Lipman, Tulane University

Naomi Paik, University of Texas, Austin

Jerry Philogene, Dickinson College

Elena Razlogova, Concordia University, Montréal

Liz Sevcenko, Guantánamo Public Memory Project

The full conference schedule will be available in February 2013.


Event Sponsors

Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs

Critical Caribbean Studies Initiative

Department of American Studies

Department of Art History, Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies Program

Department of History

Office for Academic and Public Partnerships in the Arts and Humanities

Office of the Dean of Humanities

Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Rutgers University Libraries

Transnational New Jersey


Creative: Picture Projects & Tronvig Group