Erasing Traumatic Memories

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Photo credit: Hillary C. Schiff, Phd Candidate in Neuroscience at NYU

Tonight is the last lecture in the CLACS Program Seminar Series titled Hauntings: Memory, Patrimony and the Contested Past. Andreas Huyssen will visit us from Columbia University, and speak about “Uses of the Past in Transnational Memory Debates.”
For those who have not attended, you missed a series of compelling lectures that discussed questions about memory and how we deal in the present with traumatic events of the past. Among the many topics raised were school pictures used by contemporary artists, films made by children of the Disappeared in Argentina, and the politics of commemorative dates and public memorials. Definitely check out any CLACS sponsored lecture series in the future.
As a complement to this lecture series, which relies on social sciences to frame debates about dealing with memories, I thought the following two pieces of material from the world of neuroscience might prove interesting. First, this New York Times article talks about a neuroscience project at Brooklyn’s SUNY Downstate Medical Center which studies the altering of traumatic memory in mice and rats. Second, this RadioLab episode about “Memory and Forgetting,” which focuses in part on the research of NYU Neuroscientist Joe LeDoux and the erasing of memories of fear in rats – and humans. Food for thought — feel free to share opinions.
Christine Mladic
MA Candidate at CLACS

One response to “Erasing Traumatic Memories

  1. julie mladic

    Is it a good idea to erase memories of fears? Most of me thinks so, but part of me doesn’t. We should have some fears. For example, little kids can be so trusting and I think having no fear is not good for their safety. Can just some fears be erased?

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