Dr. Lauren Obermark is an associate professor in the English department. Her current work focuses on what she calls resistant remembrance, further theorizing how the work of memory (personal, social, and public) contributes powerfully to social justice movements. One way resistant remembrance is practiced is through the rejection of static, monolithic monuments and memorials and, in their place, community-created projects and conversations emerge. Her research about resistant remembrance is enriched by geospatial methods and technologies, as she works to locate, document, and analyze place-based manifestations of this practice in St. Louis as they relate to the murder of Mike Brown and the Ferguson Uprising. She ultimately hopes to document stories and create maps about resistant remembrance for racial justice nationwide.
More generally, Dr. Obermark is a specialist in Rhetoric and Composition, which means she is interested in communication, broadly defined. That communication may be written, oral, visual, or a combination of modes and media; it may take place among humans but is also inherent in objects or environments. At the heart of all her work is an ongoing investigation of how rhetoric informs 21st-century practices of social justice, in academic and public spaces. When rhetoric is understood as entangled words and actions in the pursuit of transformative justice, it can be used as a framework to enhance how people listen, speak, and write to (and about) one another, and this idea is the throughline in all of Dr. Obermark’s research, teaching, and community engagement. She is author of the book Engaging Museums: Rhetorical Education and Social Justice, forthcoming from Southern Illinois University Press in 2022. She has recently published articles about disability as an identity and accessible pedagogy, public memory of difficult history, and public rhetoric in/about Ferguson.
You can learn more about her at laurenobermark.com.