Fall 2009

History and Memory in Literature and Photography


Robert T. Hayashi (Section 01)


"The problem is not that people remember through photographs, but that they remember only photographs.”  Susan Sontag.

In her final book, Susan Sontag warned about the dominant role images play in shaping Americans’ memories and sense of history.  We will study events such as the Holocaust, Japanese American Relocation, Vietnam, and 9/11, and how both images and literature create narratives of these events for individuals, ethnic groups, and nations.  We will look at the conflicts that arise when different perspectives of events enter the public realm and when memory and history are presented for the consumption of the public, whether in the form of a museum exhibit, movie, photograph, or poem.

The course will be highly interdisciplinary and include readings in literature, cultural studies, history and psychology.  Class meetings will be discussion-oriented, including discussions led by individual students.  Coursework will include short critical analyses of reading assignments, a review essay of an art exhibit and a research paper. The course will also include individual conferences with the instructor to discuss students’ written work.

Fall semester.  Professor Hayashi.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2009