Waltz with Bashir

December 9th, 2010

The concept of memory has changed for me throughout this semester. I used to think memory was just a random thing, and just special events were really remembered vividly. After this course i realized that memory is a very fragile thing. It’s not set in stone. What i remember from an event that happened 3 or 4 years ago might be slightly different than what actually happened, or different from a friends account of it. I also learned that traumatic experiences and experiences involving pain of some sort are remembered more vividly than other memories.

My view of history has not really changed throughout this semester. I’m a history buff and already knew to analyze each side of the historical event and get an input from both parties, instead of being one sided about things.

Voices Envisioned Exhibit

December 9th, 2010

One image that interested me was the banner or hope. This banner depicts a string of red white and blue flags being caught up in a sewing machine at a desk. The description of the picture is about a young girl who got fired from her job because she cut the bunting that got caught in her sewing machine. It surprised me how seriously some people take symbols. Specifically how people as groups become preoccupied with them and marginalize their opponents with them. I think this is a prime example of this motif.

11/30 memory book

November 30th, 2010

-Proustian memory
when i was a kid, i would always go to my grandparents house on the weekend in ozone park. whenever i would go, me and my cousins would always go to the corner store and get giant ice pops. for the longest time i had forgotten about the ice pops and even the house in queens cause my grandparents moved in with me and my family 6 or 7 years ago. a few months ago i was in a 7/11 and i saw the same giant ice pops in the freezer where they had the ice cream. when i saw this i couldnt stop thinking about all the fun times me and my cousins had in that house. sliding down the banister on the stairs, playing with the kid across the street who i havent seen in years, sitting on a skateboard and riding down my grandparents driveway, rescuing and adopting kittens that were left out by their mother in the pouring rain. so many memories rushed back to me and seeing those ice pops made me really miss my childhood and that house.

The First thanksgiving

November 30th, 2010

The first thanksgiving is represented as a happy time in colonial america. it is taught as the first gathering of native americans and colonists. it is taught that they had a giant feast and everyone got along just peachy. but that is not what happened at all. the colonists used thanksgiving as a ploy to trick the natives into trusting them. they pretended to like them and were nice to them but slaughtered many of the natives and gave them blankets filled with smallpox. the memory of what happened on the first thanksgiving is completely wrong to what actually happened.

11/9

November 9th, 2010

Part 1
when you attach a song to a social memory of a person, it helps bring back memories of that person that the song is attached to. if you met someone at a metallica concert and your ringtone for them is a metallica song, when you hear that song you will think back to the concert and remember that person.
Part 2
Nabokov spends most of his time describing what the world around him looks like instead of spending time on details about himself and the other characters. Any other details mentioned are very vauge. He uses very big and confusing words to attempt to put his point across. he also uses other launguages which was very confusing. We see his memory process when he acknowledges what he remembers and doesnt remember about his friends dog, and that he doesnt remember its name.

11/4 assignment

November 4th, 2010

“The Musical Madeline” passage is about how ringtones define a person. Just like Forrest Gump said that you can tell a lot about a person because of the shoes theyre wearing, you can tell a lot about a person by listening to their ringtone.

I personally think ringtones are pointless. Most of them are annoying and are stupid. I prefer to keep my phone on vibrate.

Holloween Memory

November 2nd, 2010

When i was about 10 years old, i was trick or treating with my cousin and a couple of friends. This asshole hit me with a stocking full of flour and my cousin chased him down and the kid ran away. Later that day we took eggs and egged the kid that hit me with the flour, getting our revenge.

I think i can recall it because i got hurt and because of that my amygdola sent hormones to my hippocampus to remember the tragic event.

9/28 assignment

September 28th, 2010

Revere’s letter to Belknap and his deposition 23 years later are very similar, except the letter to Belknap is more descriptive. Both describe how he left for Lexington at 10 p.m. and got on his horse at 11 p.m. Both also talk about Revere’s encounter with the British soldiers who threatened to blow his brains out and actually arrested and escorted him back towards the Lexington meeting house.

The differences within the two writings are that in the deposition, Revere fails to mention the North Church steeple or the man who was responsible for lighting the lanterns, Daws. In the deposition he also does not mention that he did not just run away from the officers, but he alarmed every house that he passed that they were coming.

I was disappointed that in the deposition Revere left out so much detail that was vital to understand what truly happened on that historic night.

9/23 assignment

September 23rd, 2010

Reveres Deposition

Revere was told by Dr. Joseph Warren that he was to ride to Lexington and inform Samuel Adams, and John Hancock that British troops were mobilizing and were presumed to be readying an attack on Lexington or Concord. When he arrived in Charlestown he was informed by Richard Devens that 9 officers were armed and mounted, riding towards Concord. He found 2 of these officers and was chased 300 yards before they gave up. He then proceeded to Lexington to warn Hancock and Adams of the British attack. He then met these two officers again and they threatened to kill him if he did not turn back. He tried to escape but was captured and held at gunpoint. He was then questioned and threatened with death again if he lied. When he was finally let go he returned to Hancock and Adams and told them to ready arms. The militia was told not to fire unless the British attacked first but they were vastly outnumbered. As Revere rode on he lost sight of the militia and thought they had all died.

Longfellow Poem

Longfellow emphasized the fact that Paul Revere was a hero. That because of him  the villages and farms were safer and knew when to prepare for battle. Longfellow also emphasizes the importance of the church. He mentions the church over and over again and without the hanging of the lights in the church, the town would not have known of British attack and would have been caught off guard and probably would have been destroyed.

Professor Davison, i was unable to attend class today due to a family emergency, so i posted my essay on the blog. i will bring a hard copy in to you on thursday

September 21st, 2010

Joseph Pantina

Essay #1

Prof. Davison

9/20/10

History and Memory is a course that must have engaging texts that the students can relate to and be able to easily discuss in class. There are many texts that are suitable for this class, but there are only a few that stand out. There are quite a few texts that are good for the class. My most highly recommended text for this class is “History as Social Memory” by Peter Burke. This text shows how memory is no longer objective and that it has to do with more interpretation more than how it used to be, just about facts. Another good, but less satisfactory text would have to be Marita Sturken’s “Conversations with the Dead: Witness in the AIDS Memorial Quilt”. This text shows how something can be remembered if people come together and do things to remember historical things. Both texts are good for explaining how history and memory coincide with one another.

The text “History as Social Memory” introduces a great number of ideas that help students understand what exactly social memory is. Social memory, or Collective memory, is memory that is shared, passed on and also constructed by a group, or modern society. 1

In this text Burke talks about the first serious explorer of the social framework of memory, the French sociologist Maurice Halbwachs. Halbwachs stated that social groups determine what is to be remembered, rather than the individual themselves.1 This is true because History is not solely recorded by one person. The most common way many people learn their history is through textbooks and television. These texts and programs are not put together by one person but a collection of people. These people decide what is to be remembered by the masses, and what portions of history slip through the cracks.

Burke also states that historians must study history from two different viewpoints. They must study history from a historical source, through what was left behind such as old documents, artifacts, and even through oral history. They must see every point of view of each event to truly understand what happened. The second viewpoint Burke mentions is the “social history of remembering”. Burke states that “social memory, like the individual memory, is selective; we need to identify the principles and to note how they vary from place to place or from one group to another and how they change over time.”2 Memories are easily distorted and we must understand how and why they are shaped.

Peter Burke is an excellent conveyer of facts. His text is full of examples and clearly conveys his points throughout the whole text. The examples that he give are easy to relate to and he gets straight to the point when explaining them. A great example that he gives about social memory are the commemorations people have to remember important events and keep them in our memories such as Remembrance Day in Britain, Memorial Day in the Unites States, July 14th in France and July 12th in Northern Ireland. All these dates are set aside to remember those who fought and died to keep peace in their respective countries and throughout the world. We remember them by celebrating their lives and their sacrifices. This is a great example of social memory that Burke gives. He fully explains his ideas and they are easy to follow along with.

I think this text is very accessible to undergraduates. His ideas are very clear and straightforward. He explains how social memory has changed over the years from being a just people writing down history, to a concept of many factors. This text is a good discussion starter because it gets students really thinking on exactly what memory is, and why we remember certain events more than others, and exactly why some statements or actions trigger memories that have nothing to do with the topic or that we would otherwise have forgotten. He also states how the media and society are helping mold social memory for this generation and ones to come.

“Conversations with the Dead, Bearing Witness in the AIDS Memorial Quilt” is a piece that is a prime example of social memory at work. In this text, Sturken talks of the AIDS quilt, a giant handmade quilt made for the people who have died from AIDS. This quilt is made up of over 40,000 handmade panels from around the world to commemorate those who have died from AIDS.3 This text is a great example for this class because it talks about how people are getting together and creating a collective memory for those who have passed. Memorials such as this are great examples of collective memory. These help people remember those who have died as many other memorials throughout the world do. The AIDS quilt is not made up of only quilting, but it is made up of spray paint, embroidery, and other crafts.4 Each patch helps personify the victim and helps us remember how they lived, not that they are gone. This is another great example of social memory at work. With each additional patch added onto the quilt it is another story that is being told, another life that has been lived. This quilt shows that to remember someone and to keep them in our memories, we have to honor and remember their lives, not focus on the fact that they are no longer with us.  This is a great text because it gets students thinking about how they wish to be remembered and how they will remember history as it happens.

Sturken presents her ideas very well. She gives examples on how the quilt was made and how the patches were made up. She makes a connection with the reader early on in the text and maintains it throughout the text. She clearly describes how the AIDS quilt came to be, what it’s comprised of, and how people remember it to this day. Although she presented her ideas very clearly and they were easy to grasp, I believe Burke’s text would be better suited for this class because it is a much more interesting piece, divulging into all the aspects of social memory, including social amnesia and how social memory is a big part of our culture today.

This text is somewhat accessible to undergraduates. It is an interesting topic and people should know that this disease still ravages hundreds of thousands of people, but it might not catch the attention of all students. Although there are a few people who know somebody who has had a bout with HIV/AIDS, it is unlikely that this piece will really hit home for most students. It is better to discuss a piece that they all can relate to such as a September 11th piece because that will really get people’s attention considering most students have some memory of that event.

Teaching the class “History and Memory” can prove to be quite challenging if you are not prepared. If you have texts that are boring or too difficult to understand, than the class will be uninterested and not care too much about it. But if you have texts like “History as Social Memory” and “Conversations with the Dead, Bearing witness in the AIDS Memorial Quilt”, and then you will have no problem with this class at all. Both of those texts have engaging ideas and are very interesting. Although Burke’s text is a better source of information since it describes social memory and how it pertains to history, Sturken’s text gives a solid example on social memory and is an interesting piece as well. I recommend using both of these texts in class and with them, you should have no problem teaching this class.

Endnotes

1.       Peter  Burke, History as Social Memory. History and Memory Course Packet 1

Pg 98

2.       Abid pg 99

3.       Marita Sturken, Conversations with the Dead, Bearing Witness in the AIDS Memorial Quilt. History and Memory Course Packet 1. Pg 103

4.       Abid pg 111


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