Robert Bednar has spent almost two decades mapping and photographing thousands of roadside car crash shrines, especially in the American Southwest. This cogent, well-theorized, and heartfelt account focuses on their traumatic affect, making a strong case for their disturbing significance as signs, and scars, of the nation’s troubling, and enduring, dependence on automobility.— Erika Doss, Professor of American Studies, University of Notre Dame
Based on more than fifteen years of research, Robert Bednar’s book is a ground-breaking look at these seemingly silent sentinels. With particular attention to the role of photography, Bednar’s unique transciplinary approach lays the groundwork for a provocative analysis of the collective agency these memorials exert as manifestations of cultural trauma. Challenging us to recognize society’s responsibilities to such trauma, Bednar calls upon us all to bear witness.