Center for Ethics

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  1. What are the ethics and politics of memory construction? What is the morality of memory? What are we obligated to remember? Are there some things we are obligated to forget? Do we have a responsibility, through memory and remembrance, to repair past mistakes? Should we ever attempt to erase memories? What is collective memory and what is its relationship to personal memory? How do memorials and museums contribute to our sense of a collective past? What is the relationship between memory, myth and truth? In what ways is memory construction a cause and effect of access to power? How is memory used in shaping the public and granting access to communities? Are there more or less ethical ways to access and attempt to shape memory?

 

  1. Memory & Forgetting is co-directed by Holly Cate (hcate@muhlenberg.edu) and Paul McEwan (pmcewan@muhlenberg.edu). Please feel free to contact Holly or Paul regarding program questions, or Lanethea Mathews, Director of the Center for Ethics (mathews@muhlenberg.edu) for more information.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

September        October        November        Spring 2012

STEPHANIE COONTZ
HISTORY, POLITICS, AND THE LURE OF NOSTALGIA

Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 7pm—Miller Forum, Moyer Hall
Co-Sponsored by the Department of History and the Women’s Studies Program

Since the 1960s, American politics have repeatedly centered around the “Culture Wars,” in which conservatives attempt to defend a “traditional” notion of family values based on a 1950s model that is male-dominated and heterosexual. Coontz (Evergreen State College), author of The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, challenges the notion that the 1950s were what we pretend they were, and thus upends the idea that we can simply return to traditional values. In doing so, she undermines the nostalgia that informs much of our political discourse.

    JONAH LEHRER
    YOUR MEMORY IS A LIAR

    Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 7pm—Empie Theatre, Center for the Arts
    Co-Sponsored by the Neuroscience Program, Department of Psychology, and Student Activities

    Jonah Lehrer is the best-selling author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist and How We Decide. A Rhodes scholar, Lehrer is now a popular science writer for The New Yorker, Nature, Seed, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. Lehrer will discuss the science of memory to unpack and explode some of the myths surrounding how and why we remember (and forget).

    NATIONAL MEMORIALS & MUSEUMS
    FIELD TRIP TO WASHINGTON, DC

    CO-SPONSORED BY THE MULTICULTURAL CENTER
    Saturday, Oct. 15—Depart 8:30; Return 11:00pm

    Come to the nation’s capitol on a field trip designed to raise questions about national memory, memorialization, and the role of museums in the social and political construction of memory. Scheduled in advance of the campus visit by Friedrich St.Florian, architect of the World War Two Memorial. To register, contact Beth Buechler in the Department of Art (buechler@muhlenberg.edu).

    JEFFREY OLICK AND PHILIP GOUREVITCH
    COLLECTIVE MEMORY AND NATIONAL TRAUMA

    Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 7pm—Miller Forum, Moyer Hall
    Co-Sponsored by the Departments of Political Science, Sociology, Media & Communication, and the Multicultural Center

    This program examines collective memory, particularly in the context of genocide. Olick (University of Virginia), is editor of The Collective Memory Reader and author of Guilt and Defense: On the Legacies of National Socialism in Postwar Germany and The Politics of Regret: On Collective Memory and Historical Responsibility. Gourevitch is the former editor of the Paris Review, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and author of the award-winning We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families, a harrowing book examining the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

    ERIC STANGE
    FILM MAKING AND HISTORY

    Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 7pm—Event Space, Seegers Union
    Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow

    Eric Stange is a documentary filmmaker who specializes in historical subjects. He wrote and directed two hours of the PBS mini-series The War That Made America, about the French and Indian War. His films include Murder At Harvard; Children of the Left and Love In The Cold War; and part of the series, Making Sense of the 60s. In 2002 and 2003, Stange was a fellow at Harvard University's Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, where he developed a mini-series, Picturing the Past, that explores and analyzes forms of historical representation.

    GABRI CHRISTA & MARIE-CELIE AGNANT
    ARTS & MEMORY

    Thursday, Nov. 10 at 7pm—Empie Theatre, Center for the Arts
    Co-Sponsored by the Multicultural Center and The Africana Lecture Series: Seeing Africa

    A panel discussion featuring two women artists whose work is focused on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean and the way a painful past is remembered and then re-imagined in the present. Gabri Christa is choreographer and filmmaker whose work lives where dance, theater and film merge. Her film series, Another Building, places narrative dance theater in historical buildings with interesting, often painful histories connected to the slave trade in the New World. Marie-Célie Agnant is a Haitian-Quebecoise author who has lived in Canada since 1970. A writer of poems, novels and novellas, she has also published children's books. Her work often deals with the history and legacy of the dictatorship of the Duvaliers, and the situation of women and girls in Haiti.

    FRIEDRICH ST.FLORIAN
    MEMORY MADE CONCRETE: MEMORIALS AND COLLECTIVE MEMORY

    Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 7pm—Miller Forum, Moyer Hall

    Friedrich St.Florian is best-known as the designer of the World War Two Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC. He has also been a Professor and Dean of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design. His talk will center on public memorials and the nature of collective memory, and on the role of architecture in public memory and history.

    RELATED EVENTS

    CAROLYN MANOSEVITZ, MFA
    THE ETERNAL PRESENCE OF ABSENCE

    Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 7:30pm—Congregation Kenneth Israel
    Institute for Jewish Christian Understanding (IJCU)


    Carolyn Manosevitz is a working artist, widely shown in galleries across the US, and founder and executive director of The Fund for Interfaith Understanding. Her art captures her own experience of searching for meaning in the aftermath of her family’s destruction in the Shoa. A collection of her work will be shown in Seegers Union Event Space, beginning September 17.

    BILL MCDOWELL: ASHES IN THE NIGHT SKY
    Oct. 12-Nov.12—Martin Art Gallery

    McDowell’s “Ashes” refers to his father’s cremated ashes. As he experimented with relating those remains to the starry skies, he embarked on a personal and artistic journey that evolved in thoughtful and compelling ways.

    MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG
    Oct. 28-Nov. 6—Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts

    "How did you get to be here? What was the moment?" Sondheim turns the traditional showbiz musical on its head in this compelling Broadway fable about friendship, compromise, and the high price of success. music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; book by George Furth; director James Peck; musical director Ken Butler; choreographer Jeremy Arnold '12

    MOURNING AND MEMENTO MORI
    Oct. 31-Nov.31—Trexler Library

    One of the world’s largest collections of XIX Century mourning art and jewelry made of hair, provided by Muhlenberg College’s Pamela Moschini.

    Jennifer Egan
    Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 7pm—Miller Forum, Moyer Hall

    Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer prize in fiction this year for her novel A Visit From the Goon Squad, which is now being made into a HBO series.

    Three Sisters
    April 26-29, 2012—Dorothy Hess Baker Theatre

    Bittersweet and laced with nostalgia, Anton Chekhov's classic tale of love and longing is also surprisingly funny and deeply human. by Anton Chekhov; directed by Holly Cate; choreographed by Corrie Cowart; spotlight performance by Troy Dwyer.