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MEMORY IN THE DISCIPLINES



Suparna Rajaram, Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Personnel (CAS). "Collaborative Memory: A Cognitive Perspective." Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 2:30-3:50 SBS N-403.

Professor Rajaram has made available two publications from this research.

Past Seminars:



Patrick Hutton (University of Vermont), "“Legends of a Revolutionary:
Nostalgia in the Imagined Lives of Auguste Blanqui
.” Wed. April 11, 2012, 12:50-2:10.
SBS N-403Crystal Fleming
(Stony Brook U, Sociology), "Mnemonic Antiracism: Remembering Slavery in Metropolitan France."  Wed. February 29, 12:50-2:10.  SBS N-403

Jeffrey Santa Ana (Stony Brook English), "Emotions as Landscapes: Commodification and Historical Memory in the Picture Books of Shaun Tan." Wed. Nov. 9, 12:50-2:10. Hum. 1008.
This talk examines the work of Shaun Tan, a Chinese Australian comics artist who has achieved international acclaim for his picture books.  According to Tan, Australia has been slow to recognize its “problematic history” of racial discrimination against Asian immigrants and Aboriginal people.   The removal of Australia’s bush land to develop outer suburbs, Tan contends, has created an “amnesiac culture” in Australia that makes people feel alienated because they have become detached from the natural environment.  This alienating detachment from the natural world makes it difficult to remember Australia’s problematic history of Aboriginal people who once populated the bush.  Insofar as Tan’s picture books are about the relationship between people and places, the rupturing of this relationship, which Tan depicts in his illustrations of alienation and displacement, demonstrates both the forgetting and recovering of historical memory.  Tan recovers this forgotten history in his illustrations through his visual metaphors for emotion.  In Tales from Outer Suburbia (2008) and Lost & Found (2010), for example, a place as mundane and banal as a bare lawn in a suburban backyard is the site at which to commemorate indigenous heritage and the spirits of ancestral immigrants. I will demonstrate in my talk the importance of historical memory in Tan’s art.  I will also discuss how forgetting history is, according to Tan, a global problem that is the manifestation of something systemic, affecting the entirety of human life everywhere in the world.


Ulrike Heine (University of Giessen), "Photographic Memories of Disasters in Climate Change Communication." Wed. Oct. 5, 12:50-2:10. SBS N403.
In my presentation I will elaborate on the role of visual memory of natural and man-‐ made disasters within the transnational public discourse on Climate Change. Visual memory is first and foremost embodied and enlivened through photographic images. I argue that, within the Climate Change discourse, photographs of past events are being reframed and re-‐contextualised. Here, the anew connotated images serve as photographic complements to diagrammatic simulations of possible climate futures. The presentation explores the nexus between future Climate Change scenarios and media representation of past disasters in two steps: Firstly, I will sketch out the theoretical framework for the analysis of visuals within collective memory. Here I will take on Barbie Zelizer’s notion of "voice" and David D. Perlmutter’s differentiation of "discrete" and "generic" icons to explore the assets of association within the understanding of visual memory. Secondly, I will discuss some of my materials, such as the 2008 Greenpeace Campaign "Your child is growing. Not as fast as the oceans are rising" and the online photo essay "Climate Change. One Planet, One Chance" produced by Magnum in Motion in 2008, as a comission for the UNDP. Each of the projects illustrate ways of approaching different aspects of visual memory. The presentation highlights one important aspect of my dissertation project "(Re)Defining Photography in the Face of Climate Change"*, which I work on as a contribution to the field of visual studies.