#TTOM (The Transience Of Memories, July 17, 2016):
Is your name on the top of your mind? Are the preconscious or the unconscious merely the regions far away from the centre of the field of attention? Why are memories transient? Can there be a memory molecule, or are all memories synthesized? Are memories localized in the brain? Can (collective) memories be formless? How are traumatic events remembered? What role does emotional significance, meaning, and stress play in the recording and retrieval of a memory? Can memories be inherited genetically? What is the difference between repression and suppression? Is suppression impossible? Can memories be planted? Can there be a kind of wisdom in forgetting? Is it easy to forget? Why don’t we often remember the details? Are episodic, declarative, and motor memories stored in different neural structures? Can you hold the theoretical memory capacity of your brain in your hand? Is our memory capacity changing? Why does chunking work? What are the sites of memory? How do memory practices change? Can tradition be invented? How do we remember forgetting? Can we create memories that do not exist? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from neuroscience (Prof. Upinder S. Bhalla, NCBS, Bangalore), media & cultural studies (Dr. Rohit Chopra, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara), & psychoanalysis (Dr. Pushpa Misra, ex-Bethune College, Kolkata).
SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TTOM show.
Prof. Upinder S. Bhalla (neuroscience) is at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), TIFR, Bangalore. With the firm conviction that Biology was boring and Physics hot, he joined the integrated M.Sc. Physics programme at IIT Kanpur and then shifted to Cambridge University. Here he was startled to find the Biology was interesting after all. He received his Ph.D. (1993) from California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, where he worked on computational neuroscience and brain recordings. His post-doctoral tenure was at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York (1993-95) where he worked in the new area of Systems Biology. Since 1996 he has been at NCBS and applies computational, theoretical & experimental methods to study the brain. He has worked on how the sense of smell is coded, how animals use odours to find objects, & how memories are stored in the sub-microscopic connections between brain cells. He has 45 publications in peer reviewed journals, 16 review articles, 7 book chapters, 2 book reviews and 3 patents. The software / databases developed by him include: GENESIS (General Neuronal Simulation System), & DOQCS (Database of Quantitative Chemical Signaling; for chemical kinetic models). Prof. Bhalla is Elected Fellow of Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS). He has also received the Merck Teaching Award (2007), & Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Biology (2008), amongst others.
Dr. Rohit Chopra (media & cultural studies) is Associate Professor of Communication at Santa Clara University, USA. He has a B.A. in English from St. Xavier’s College (University of Bombay), an M.A. in English and Aesthetics from the University of Mumbai and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts at Emory University, Atlanta. Dr. Chopra’s research centers on global media, new media technologies, and cultural identity. He is the author of ‘Technology and Nationalism in India: Cultural Negotiations from Colonialism to Cyberspace (Cambria, 2008)’, co-editor of ‘Global Media, Culture, and Identity: Theory, Cases, and Approaches (Routledge, 2011)’, and editor of ‘Reflections on Empire’, a special issue of the Economic and Political Weekly on imperialism in the present. He has also published his work in several journals including The International Journal of Communication, Global Media and Communication, New Media and Society, First Monday, and Cultural Studies. His current research projects center on memory. His inprogress monograph addresses how the 1992-1993 religious riots and 1993 bomb blasts in Mumbai are constructed and remembered in various media forms. Another project addresses how the Internet has shaped our sense of the past. He is also working on a book on Hindu nationalism and new media under contract with HarperCollins. He has written and continues to write for a number of international and South Indian publications including the BBC, The New Inquiry, Livemint, Scroll, The Wire, and the Sunday Guardian. He also runs the Twitter account @IndiaExplained.
Dr. Pushpa Misra (psychoanalysis) is a practicing psychoanalyst, based in Kolkata. She is also a training and supervising analyst of Indian Psychoanalytical Society (IPS). After doing her Masters in Psychology and Philosophy from Calcutta University, she did her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Rochester, New York. Her research interests range from psychoanalysis to philosophy of science, applied ethics and literature. As the Fulbright Fellow for the year 1993-1994 she did her postdoctoral research at the University of Pittsburgh. She joined West Bengal Educational Service in 1968 and retired as the Principal of Bethune College, Kolkata. She was also a guest lecturer at the Department of Philosophy, University of Calcutta. Apart from various scholarly and popular articles, Dr. Misra has published the following books: ‘The Scientific Status of Psychoanalysis: Evidence and Confirmation (Karnac Books, London)’, and ‘Parva and Ardhanarishwar (Sahitya Academi)’, in collaboration with Dr. Kanika Bose. She has also translated and annotated Freud’s ‘Outlines of Psychoanalysis’ and translated Hans Sachs’ ‘Freud: Master and Friend’ into Bengali. Dr. Misra has also edited the special issue of ‘Ebong Mushaira’ on Freud.
Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.
#TTOM mentions: Sigmund Freud, Maurice Halbwachs, Hermann Ebbinghaus, A. R. Luria, Talal Asad, Urvashi Butalia, Joachim Bauer, & Daniel Schacter, among others.