Embodiment NUBS 2.03
Jul 06, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230706T1100 20230706T1230 Europe/London 6.14. Embodying memories, transforming memories NUBS 2.03 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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Why interdisciplinarity has been so difficult to achieve in memory studies?
Individual paperBeyond Disciplinary Communities 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 10:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 11:30:00 UTC
There have been many calls for interdisciplinary approaches in memory studies. Despite these calls for interdisciplinarity, Dutceac Segesten and Wüstenberg's (2017) online survey on scholars who associate themselves with memory studies shows that "memory studies must at present still be characterized as a multidisciplinary field, showing, for example, a lack of cross-disciplinary cooperation among co-authors and across departments" (p. 475). My presentation identifies two methodological obstacles to developing interdisciplinary research programs in memory studies that would cross disciplinary boundaries between neurocognitive perspectives and social scientific perspectives on memory phenomena.
The first obstacle concerns differences in the conceptual stances taken by memory researchers in different disciplines. I propose a distinction between the physical stance, the information processing stance, the phenomenological stance, and the socio-cultural stance on memory phenomena. Cognitive neuroscientific and psychological communities mostly take either the physical or the information processing stance on memory phenomena, or some combination of them. In contrast, social scientific communities mostly take the phenomenological or the socio-cultural stance on memory phenomena, or some combination of them. There is no generally agreed way of combining these four stances.
The second obstacle relates to research heuristics used in different memory disciplines. I assume that there is a shared reference scale for all memory disciplines in the sense that different disciplines should be able to relate their methods, concepts, theories, and findings to this scale. This reference scale consists of living human beings in their natural habitats that include their communicative interactions with other humans in culturally constructed environments. By means of assuming the idea of the reference scale, different heuristic methods used in different memory disciplines can be described in terms of scaling down and scaling up from the reference scale. For example, many cognitive neuroscientists have scaled down from the reference level by using the decomposition and localization heuristics that abstract away from (or radically simplify) social and cultural contexts and focus on memory mechanisms in the brains of human organisms (cf. Bechtel 2008). In contrast, many social scientists have scaled up from the reference level by using, for example, the heuristics of black-boxing and contextualisation that abstract away from (or radically simplify) the inner mechanisms of embodied human beings and focus on social and collective memory phenomena.
My argument is that the uses of different conceptual stances combined with the uses of research heuristics that scale into different directions often results in situations where cognitive neuroscientists and social scientists not only describe memory phenomena in incommensurable ways, but also have different criteria for good explanations for these phenomena ─ even in cases where they study similar memory phenomena. Finally, I suggest that juxtaposing different conceptual stances and research heuristics allows identification of their biases, which may help find ways to overcome the above methodological obstacles to interdisciplinarity. 
Tuukka Kaidesoja
Senior Researcher, University Of Helsinki
Individual paperEmbodiment 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
The paper draws on the research I have been carrying out since 2019 on the reuse of former mental asylums and 'mind museums'. What I called a mind museum is a former asylum adaptively reused as a museum. However, a mind museum is not simply a 'museumised' historical building displaying the history of its premise or a museum of the history of psychiatry. Rather, a mind museum is a site-specific and place-based cultural institution whose chief mission is to foster critical reflection and informed discourses on the history of, and contemporary approaches to the treatment and management of mental health in society, with the aim to promote awareness and dismantle stigma about mental health today. The overarching objective of my study was to describe what and how mind museums are, with key regard to their actual and potential capability to break down stereotypes and promote debate about mental health. 
The paper works through a single case study, the museum of the history of psychiatry in Reggio Emilia in Italy, to explore if and how visitors make connections between historical and contemporary approaches to mental health issues in society in relation to what they encounter in the museum environment and display. Visitor studies have been carried out at the Reggio Emilia Museum from February 2020 to July 2021, deploying a methodology purposely designed to respond to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 outbreak to fieldwork. Visitor studies consisted in remote qualitative interviews resorting to a mixed method hinged on narrative and photo-elicited interviews, with thirteen research participants who visited the museum from one up to eight years before the interview. These have been combined with on-site observations and informal unstructured interviews with museum visitors. The main aim of this visit studies campaign was to help me understand which (if any) of those tangible and intangible features that are at the center of the museum project actually endure in visitors' memories, subsequently fostering their reflexivity on societal issues, whether purposively or not. 
What emerged from the study aligns with what other authors already noted, i.e. that visits to mind museums produce enduring memories (Falk and Dierking 2016). These memories, I noted, are 'anchored' to some objects, spaces, and interpretative materials. These 'memory anchors' are personal, selective, and change from visitor to visitor; they help them structure their account of their visit experience reactivating memories and recalling emotions. Crucially, they sustain reflexivity about what they encountered at the museum, often at a very personal level. Differently from what other authors pointed out discussing exhibitions on mental health, my study did not find any 'platitude' in visitors' reactions (Dudley, 2017). Rather, it suggests that the visit to mind museums often spurs - sometimes very strong - emotional reactions in those who visit, prompts immediate proactive responses to their visit experience, and enables them to draw connections between the past and the present sustaining reflexivity, even time after the visit.
Francesca Lanz
Assistant Professor, Northumbria University
Embodying the Coming-of-Age Film Experience: Gender Transgressions with Queer Time in Tomboy (2011) and Futur Drei (No Hard Feelings, 2020)
Individual paperEmbodiment 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
The last ten years has seen a dramatic rise in the representation and discussion of trans identities and gender nonconformity. Vogue declared 2015 the "Year of Trans Visibility", signalling the emergence of this particular queer experience into the mainstream. For trans and gender nonconforming communities, visibility has not necessarily meant progress. "Trans rights debates" are becoming increasingly fraught, making headlines, with so-called "gender critical" voices pushing back against a notion that society is moving "beyond the binary".

Given the urgency of the political context, this study aims to explore how the film-experience can embody gender transgressions, examining the coming-of-age narrative as an affective site of contact. Queer cinema has a history of drawing on the coming-of-age narrative to explore emerging sexualities and identities. Through close analysis of two European films, I question the relationship between the past and the future in the queering of the temporality of youth, and interrogate the challenges posed to cis-heteronormative, linear conceptualisations of time. These case studies demonstrate how a film can show the violence inherent in the queer coming-of-age experience, while revealing alternative frameworks for that experience.

French director/screenwriter Céline Sciamma's Tomboy produces ambiguity in its depiction of a gender nonconforming child-protagonist. This is contrasted with Faraz Shariat's German production Futur Drei, where the director pushes against the boundaries of a white, European imaginary through its queer story of a gay son of Iranian migrants. Tomboy's narrative, which centres on gender nonconformity, is compared with Futur Drei's depiction of gay youth, where gender transgression is less explicit, but is interwoven with its interrogation of the intersections between gender, sexuality and race. This study opens a dialogue between the two films, seeking out the expansive possibilities of cinema in the sensorial contact between the spectator's and the film's body, beyond representational and symbolic activity. 

The exclusionary, hegemonic forces, lurking in both films, link their affective memory work, reshaping configurations of the past and the future. Through an embodied, phenomenological enquiry, this paper asks whether the work of gender transgressive cinema can interrupt cis-heteronormative temporalities, offering escape routes out of the debates which seek to deny the futures of queer, trans and gender nonconforming communities.  

Presenters James Cleverley
Teaching Associate, The University Of Melbourne
‘Working hands’ in the photographic documentation of Janina Mierzecka and medical records of Henryk Mierzecki
Individual paperEmbodiment 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
The text discusses Ręka pracująca (1939, The Working Hand), a one-of-a-kind publication by the Lviv dermatologist with photographs by his artist wife Janina Mierzecka. The analysis of their joint medical and artistic project shows how the developing occupational medicine sought to describe the relationship between people's bodies and their occupation, based on diagnoses of injuries and diseases caused by the working environment, tools and external factors. Mierzecki's reflections can be interpreted in the context of research into archivization and photography   – as Alan Sekula did – which the Lviv physician also considered an integral part of the project as illustration, a catalogue and manual allowing the identification of particular cases. Mierzecka's photographs are analyzed as an example of artistic expression in the service of scientific documentation, where aesthetic and educational aspects are equally important. The whole project is also categorized as representing working people. This representation and its absence has been discussed by Georges Didi-Huberman as made possible through mechanical reproduction, photography and cinema.
The book (and the project) the Working Hands was the result of an unusual research and creative project and combined medical analyses with high-quality photographs[1] which illustrated 120 of the cases discussed. The subject of the research and the photographed object in The Working Hand is the hands of representatives of various professions, showing signs of deformities and injuries caused by the working environment. Mierzecki was interested in the ways human hands are marked by the activities performed and in how a person's occupation and living conditions can be identified through marks on the body.  Meanwhile, the artistic originality of Mierzecka's dermatological plates makes her a continuator of 19th-century photographic tradition and a practitioner of modern, avant-garde photography
Małgorzata Radkiewicz
Professor, Jagiellonian University In Cracow, Institute Of Audio Visual Arts
Assistant Professor
Northumbria University
Teaching Associate
The University of Melbourne
Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Institute of Audio Visual Arts
Senior Researcher
University of Helsinki
 Anne St. John-Stark
Assistant Professor
Thompson Rivers University
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