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Course Information

Instructor Info:Karen Danna
TA Info:Cassandra Greene
Alyssa Whoaa
Term: 2013S
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
12:30 PM - 01:50 PM Adele Simmons Hall (ASH) 111
12:30 PM - 01:50 PM Adele Simmons Hall (ASH) 111

This course offers a critical appraisal of the concepts of time, history, and memory in the social and cognitive sciences. We will start by defining our field of research at the intersection of sociology, psychology, history, anthropology, and cognitive neuroscience. We will examine the emergence of memory as an object of study within these disciplines, and focus on the interplay of individual and collected/collective memory. We will discuss the social marking of time and temporal ordering, as well as the individual and collective processes of attention and dis-attention in conjunction with historical narrative. We will analyze the processes by which individual memories are shared by larger collectivities, and the ways in which practices, spaces, and objects become means to articulate, legitimate, and construct personal biographies and collective identities. Additionally, we will explore issues of cultural transmission and cultural continuity.

Evaluation Criteria:

This is a 'critical thinking through writing and activities' course. Assignments are geared to develop students' analytical, interpretive, communication, and cognitive skills.

Students will be assessed on how well they are able to: 1) demonstrate an understanding of the theories presented in class and in texts, 2) analyze and intepret different (perhaps conflicting) theoretical perspectives, 3) use the results of these analyses to formulate new research questions and/or extend previous questions in new directions, 4) apply the knowledge gained to real-world problems, and 5) develop a deeper understanding of the self vis-a-vis society.

Students are expected to complete a number of small written assignments throughout the course ( these will be based on both in-class and outside activities), as well as complete a final project. For the final project, students have the choice to: 1) write a research review on the topic of their choosing, 2) design a study (complete with literature review and detailed methodology), or 3) conduct an original empirical study (both gathering and intepreting the data). Detailed proposals for all projects will be due mid-semester. Completed work for your final project is due on the last day of classes.

Note that one of the 'outside activities' in the course involves the Hampshire Memory Championship, which we will organize to coincide with National Brain Awareness Week (March 11-17). Details of this activity/collective project will be provided in class (but for the curious, know that the 'championship' itself will be based on the activities of the USA Memory Championship, which can be found at (see the events page) and also in Josh Foer's Moonwalking with Einstein ). 

Additional Info:

We will use three books in this course, which you can find at the Hampshire Bookstore, the online seller of your choice, or the local library. (I have ordered paperback copies to the bookstore to keep the costs reasonable).

All other required reading will be posted as PDF's on Moodle.


1) Time Maps: Collective Memory and the Social Shape of the Past. Eviatar Zerubavel (2003). University of Chicago Press.

2) A Geography of Time: The Temporal Misadventures of a Social Pyschologst (or, How Every Culture Keeps Time Just a Little Bit Differently. Robert Levine (1997). Basic Books.

3) Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. Joshua Foer (2011). Penguin Books.