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Stories of Memory in the 21st Century

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Organizer: Chia-Chieh Mavis Tseng

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Memory remains a popular topic among contemporary literature, TV series, and movies (Memento, The Bourne Identity, Remainder, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Girl on the Train, Total Recall, The Sense of an Ending, Minority Report, The Woman in the Window, Homecoming, Yesterday, etc.) These stories of memory provide fresh and critical perspectives of how remembering is framed by forgetting (and vice versa), and manifest the capacity of the past to haunt the present and the future. In one way or another, these stories reveal the unsettling discrepancy between history and memory on both individual and collective levels, highlight the fluidity of memory, and reconsider our criteria for selection about what to remember and what to forget.

This seminar examines the complex relationship between memory and storytelling in contemporary literature, TV series, and movies. This seminar will focus on the following questions: What is the relationship between memory and fiction in the 21st century? How do storytelling, verbal representation, and technologies influence our memory? How do social media, A. I., and other digital technologies influence how we remember and forget? How do we develop our criteria for selection and make our own choices about what to remember and what to forget? How does memory function in the 21st century? What is the future of memory?

Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

theories of memory

memory and forgetting

memory illusion

nostalgia and anachronism

postmemory, rememory

trauma, melancholy, and other backward affects

memory in the digital age

collective memory/amnesia

sci-fi, A.I. and memory

posthuman subjectivity and memory

reenactment/repetition in memory


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