New School News

The Limits of Memory: The Third Annual NSSR Interdisciplinary Memory Conference

Much research has been done on memory and the way it functions, circulates, and is mobilized. This research has generally highlighted memory’s positive aspects, construing it as a successful tool for change, healing, understanding, and education. With collective memory in particular, the past is seen as a way to learn lessons and build a better future. While this path has inspired new and innovative ways of dealing with memory’s various forms, scholars have tended to focus too often on memory’s positive and empowering aspects, downplaying its negative ones.

This conference, held from Thursday March 4 through Saturday, March 6, addresses the limits to theories and practices of memory, focusing on how the uses and abuses of memory are intimately tied together. The keynote speakers are: Andreas Huyssen, professor of German and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, who will talk on Memory and Human Rights, on March 4; and James Pennebaker, professor and chair of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin who will talk on Tracking the Social Dynamics of Collective Memory,, on March 5.

Other speakers include Jeffrey Olick, professor of Sociology and History at the University of Virginia; Daniel Levy, associate professor of Sociology at Stony Brook University; Diana Taylor, university professor, Performance Studies and Spanish & founding director, Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, NYU; Jack Saul, assistant professor of Clinical Population and Family Health at Columbia University and director of the International Trauma Studies Program; and Marianne Hirsch, William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and co-director of the Center for the Critical Analysis of Social Difference

Admission to the conference, which will be held in the Wolff Conference Room, 6 East 16th Street, 9th floor, is free, but seating is limited and reservations are required by calling 212.229.5580 x3136 or emailing The full program can be seen by visiting the conference website.

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