The Story of Memory


The Story of Memory Conference: Exploring New Perspectives on the Relationship between Storytelling and Memory in the Twenty-First Century

The University of Roehampton, UK: 4-5 September, 2014

Invited speakers include:

  • Paul Bloom (Psychology and Cognitive Science, Yale)
  • Suzanne Corkin (Neuroscience, MIT)
  • Mark Currie (English Literature, QMUL)
  • Asifa Majid (Psycholinguistics, Radboud)
  • Martijn Meeter (Cognitive Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
  • Jamie Tehrani (Anthropology, Durham)

The Story of Memory seeks to pose new questions about the relationship between the senses, cognition, memory, and emotion, and to reinvigorate the debate about the return to a critical investigation of story telling in the twenty-first century.

We invite papers that consider the following questions across disciplines:

  • How does storytelling shape our memories and identity in new ways, and how is narrative involved in the conceptualization of memory across disciplines?
  • How do culturally specific storytelling traditions change and inflect memory processes differently?
  • In what new ways is therapeutic storytelling used as an intervention in cases of psychological trauma?
  • How do non-verbal modes (including architecture and music) tell stories?
  • What is the role of the senses in storytelling?
  • Can there be a story in the medium of taste or smell?
  • How do disciplines not necessarily close to literature and linguistics narrate knowledge differently, and how can the Humanities rethink traditional narratological frameworks through the different story-forms generated by other disciplines?
  • How do new influences create new, and reshape existing, genres such as (auto)biography and life-writing (i.e., brain memoirs; e.g. Hustvedt, Shulman, McCrum)?
  • Neuroscientists too have turned their attention to how the brain uses narrative to integrate the senses, emotion and memory into the experiential self, so what can the ‘harder’ sciences learn from frameworks offered by disciplines in the Humanities ?
  • How does the changing form of stories in the age of Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Youtube, and Storify shape our sense of selfhood?
  • How do we narrate and curate (online) archives, and the bulk collection of data?
  • What are the ethical questions that new forms of story telling generate?

Please send all enquiries, as well as 250-word proposals for 25 minute papers, or 600-word proposals for special panels consisting of 3 papers, and a brief bio-note, to by 8 August 2014.

Registration for the conference is now open at

In partnership with the Guardian, the MN will also be hosting a literary festival, featuring speakers including Ian McEwan, on the 6 September. More details will be up soon.

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