2013–2014

A Primer for Forgetting

Art/Literature/Mythology/Psychology/History/Politics

Research (library and online) and writing skills are essential. Students will be working with a creative writer whose book-in-progress is an extended literary essay on the beneficial uses of forgetfulness. The work draws from mythology (e.g., Orphic instructions to the dead), history (e.g., Ernest Renan's reflections on nationhood), politics (e.g., South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission), aesthetics (e.g., Marcel Duchamp's praise of artistic self-forgetfulness), psychology (e.g., therapeutic approaches to memories of trauma), and more. I would welcome assistants with interests in any piece of the project: in mythology, in history and politics, in neuroscience, in artistic practice, etc. I would especially welcome assistants with interdisciplinary reach.

Research assistants in the past have always helped me broaden my knowledge; all my recent work contains material first discovered by my assistants.

Students will benefit from feedback on both the writing and the research, from finding a part of the project that interests them and following it on their own terms, and from immersion in the unfolding of a complex writing project.