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Schools/PhD Programs with a focus on memory studies


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Hi all,

I'm beginning to focus on next year's applications already and I am wondering if anyone here has applied/is applying for a PhD in Lit with a focus on memory studies. My research focuses on postmemory, and I identified a few schools this year, but I am wondering if I am missing anything here. Any thoughts gratefully received.

Thanks and happy Sunday! xox

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This isn't my area of study, but I know from applying there that that UC Santa Barbara has a center focused on Literature & the Mind.  It's not exactly what you're doing, but similar.  It looks like a really awesome discipline too! If you go to their site, you can find videos about the program and what they do there! I'll keep my eyes peeled for anything else like this :)

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You're already applying to Columbia to work with Hirsch? You could also take a look at Cornell if you're interested in trauma, Cathy Caruth. If its something you'd be open to, there a huge amount of research on memory studies happening in continental Europe, especially Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and in Scandinavia.

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22 hours ago, eliza_winter said:

This isn't my area of study, but I know from applying there that that UC Santa Barbara has a center focused on Literature & the Mind.  It's not exactly what you're doing, but similar.  It looks like a really awesome discipline too! If you go to their site, you can find videos about the program and what they do there! I'll keep my eyes peeled for anything else like this :)

Thank you so much!

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18 hours ago, Caien said:

You're already applying to Columbia to work with Hirsch? You could also take a look at Cornell if you're interested in trauma, Cathy Caruth. If its something you'd be open to, there a huge amount of research on memory studies happening in continental Europe, especially Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and in Scandinavia.

Yes, I already applied to Columbia (but I really don't think I have much chance of acceptance). I would be very open to Europe especially with Stef Craps and others who are there, but I just moved from England to Michigan 2.5 years ago... if I could find my American husband a job and make visas easier, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Thanks for your input!

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I'd second UCSB as a place that might be of interest - Aranye Fradenburg, who heads that division, is an astonishing scholar and teacher. She's a medievalist by training, but she's also recently completed a doctorate in psychoanalysis, and her interests range widely. A lot of her recent writing has involved the importance of the humanities in the face of trends working against them, especially in the arena of higher education (her book Staying Alive, published by Punctum).

I have done some work on memory in the Middle Ages - though that isn't an arena I'm currently working on - and the work of Frances Yates (The Art of Memory) and Mary Carruthers (The Book of Memory) are foundational texts for scholars working on premodern periods, at least, that may be of interest. Ruth Evans has also done a lot of work in that area of medieval literary studies.

One thing that may help your search for possible programs and/or scholars would be to further specify in terms of historical period(s), literature(s), culture(s). Are you interested in postmemory in, say, contemporary (however defined) American lit/culture? I agree re: the reply for Caruth's work on trauma as memory is in the mix of such research. I just mention historical or literary specificity since what area you want to study - if postmemory is the lens, let's say - will likely help narrow programs that may be of interest. A Renaissance scholar who does memory studies may be able to help with methodology, for example, but if your area is 21st century fiction, you'll want a department with people who specialize in that, too. Exciting stuff! 

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In addition to the excellent suggestion of UCSB (I love everything by Aranye Fradenburg!), consider also checking out Brown (Paul Armstrong works with theory of mind) and the University of Kentucky, Lexington (Lisa Zunshine is there, and she'd be a monumental person to have on your committee if you want to do anything related to cognition). 

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