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Remembering, Forgetting, Imagining: The Practices of Memory (March 2013, New York)
full name / name of organization:
Fordham University Graduate English Association
Keynote speaker: Professor Marianne Hirsch, Columbia University
“Modern memory is, above all, archival. It relies entirely on the materiality of the trace, the immediacy of the recording, the visibility of the image.”
This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore the crucial role of memory in formulating our individual and communal identities, and to examine the scholarly discipline of memory itself. We hope to initiate conversations about memory as an active and ongoing cognitive process rather than simply a reaction to past experiences or a set of “facts” frozen in time. While memory purports to preserve the past in the present, it is inherently protean and unstable, and prone to fictionalizing. Indeed, memory and imagination are tightly intertwined; memory and ideology are closely bound; and our memory of what has come before constantly shapes our understanding of and expectations about what is still to come.
This interdisciplinary conference, then, will explore not only this desire to make memory sacred but also our ability to forget, to forget that we've forgotten, and to imagine the past in a way that fits neatly into our worldviews. These questions are particularly relevant in the wake of recent revolutions and social movements in the Arab World, Europe, and even the United States; learning to reinvent the past in a certain way helps us to reimagine the future, and thus inaugurate change. Consequently, we invite proposals that explore the various and variegated practices of memory as figured through literature, culture, politics, and scholarship generally.
We welcome individual abstracts of 250 words or panel proposals of 750 words, for three participants, to email@example.com by November 15, 2012. In addition to traditional academic papers, the committee encourages creative literary work, performance art, and multi-media presentations that in some way address the topic.
Presenters might consider, but are not limited to, the following questions: