ACLA 2023: Memory in the Movies and TV Series (Chicago, March 16-19, 2023)

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
contact email: 

Following the success of its previous ACLA seminar “Stories of Memory in the 21st Century” in 2022, this seminar invites paper proposals to discuss how memory is represented and imagined diversely in the movies and TV series from different cultural contexts. Living in an age saturated with memory and forgetting, we see the protagonists unsettled by their lost memory in films such as Memento (2000), The Bourne Identity (2002), The Girl On the Train (2015), etc.. These amnesic protagonists, haunted by déjà vu they can never make sense of, often experience trauma and violence. Their attempts to repeat or re-enact the past complicate one’s understanding of temporalities as well as their identity. On the other hand, the futurist Raymond Kurzweilb (2010) made a bold prediction that with nanobot technology, humans will be able to back up their memories within two decades. This scenario has been fictionalized in two episodes in the dystopian sci-fi TV series Black Mirror (2011) and the film Marjorie Prime (2017): humans can record, edit, delete, or even “relive” every single memory and experience they have, either with a small device implanted in their brains or with an A.I. built from their memories. More recently, the critically acclaimed thriller Severance (2022) imagines a world in which a brain surgey can completely separate human memories of work from the memories of personal lives. These futuristic meditations or imagination on memory raise questions on the authenticity of lived experience and the limits of memory storage or modifying technologies.

This seminar aims to explore the following questions: how is memory represented in the movies and TV series? what is the future of memory? How do social media, A. I., and other digital technologies influence the way of remembering/forgetting?  

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

memory and forgetting

memory illusion

nostalgia and anachronism

postmemory, rememory

trauma, melancholy, and other backward affects

collective memory/amnesia

remembrance in the digital age

sci-fi, A.I. and memory

posthuman subjectivity and memory

gendered memories

reenactment/repetition in memory

violence and memory

futur antérieur (future perfect)

time, space, and memory


Please send a 300 word abstract and a short bio through the ACLA portal ( by October 31, 2022. 

Please select “Memory in the Movies and TV Series” in the Seminar drop box.

If you have any questions about this seminar, please feel free to contact Prof. Mavis Tseng at