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The Art of Memory

The Art of Memory

A First-Year Tutorial offered fall 2021, taught by John Garrison, professor of English and chair of peace and conflict studies

What exactly is memory? Why do we recall some experiences with striking clarity and forget others? What is the relationship of memory to fact and how does it relate to how we understand who we are? Together, we will explore these and other evocative questions. We will consider a range of perspectives on the matter – from neuroscience to psychology to psychoanalysis – as well as an array of depictions in literature and film. For centuries, people have sought to improve their memory and influence what they recall through the ancient technique of “the art of memory.” By tracing the history and expression of that art, this course will encourage you to pursue profound lines of inquiry about the nature of recollection itself.

John Garrison

Why I’m Teaching This Topic

College, especially during the first year, is a time when so many lasting memories are made. So, my tutorial's readings and discussions focus on our own active role in deciding how and why we will remember aspects of such an important time in our lives.

– John Garrison

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