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The Politics of Memory

The upcoming February 23, 2018, lecture by Mr. Jamie Swift on the theme of The Politics of Memory: rewriting history is a very timely and politically sensitive lecture theme for some of the reasons I am about to share with you.

You might want to check out and read the Kingston Whig-Standard, Tuesday, February 20, 2018, edition and go to the article in Section B, Page 1 entitled Rewriting Canada's memory banks: Archivists 'decolonize' collections. The article is by THE CANADIAN PRESS writer Mr. Bob Weber.

Mr. Weber starts out his own article saying, "Reconciliation is rewriting Canada's memory banks as archivists across the country work to make their collections more open and sensitive towards Indigenous people."

The study of "human memory" is a very complex and politically and cross-culturally sensitive scientific research topic for most academic researchers on so many personal and scientific research levels.

The area of scientific human memory research is currently both very broad, and very specialized. Our individual and collective human understanding of who we are, and what may or may not happen to our memories, imperfect as they may be after we die
takes on a special research significance in our digital age, for people from all walks of life.

No other time in human history has it become so easy and low cost for both private individuals and powerful elites from around the world to both record, modify, destroy and/or preserve all types of human experiences in digital format. The digital recording and controlling of our human life experiences may be for both commercial gain and/or political reasons of seeking to have power and control over other individuals.

The U.S. historian and author Abby Smith Rumsey has written an interesting book worth considering reading with the title "When We Are No More. Theme: How Digital Memory is Shaping Our Future."This same book title is available through our local library lending system. Ms. Rumsey is described by her publisher as an American historian who writes about how ideas and information technologies shape perceptions of history, of human time and of personal and cultural identity.

Ms. Rumsey has consulted with many libraries on digital collecting and curation, and intellectual property issues and the economics of digital information. Ms. Rumsey opening question in her book to all of her readers is framed thus, "What is the future of human memory? What will people know about us when we are gone?" Rumsey's book is a call to action in our digital age. Rumsey points out in our digital age it has become so cheap to record and digitally store all human experiences. The practical question arises as to which pieces of information do we need to store and preserve for posterity, in what storage format and what information items do we choose to discard? Rumsey also asserts in her book that " storage is different from memory; what we know from neuroscience about the value of forgetting; and above all, why memory is about the future, not the past."


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Stan Sherry researches and provides updates to the Later Life learning community on subjects we think will be of interest to you.

Stan Sherry researches and provides updates to the Later Life Learning community on subjects we think will be of interest to you.

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