E4: What is the relationship between trauma and memory?

In this episode, we explore some dimensions of the concept of memory through conversations with two people whose work deals directly with how we remember people, places, time periods, and events. Audrey Strohm hops on the mic with Alex to talk with Taylor Rugg, an M.A. student in Rhetoric at Carnegie Mellon, who has authored both academic and creative work on how people remember traumatic events. We specifically discuss the ways that trauma is experienced by members of the military, and how this can sometimes be at odds with how the public perceives and remembers their trauma, after which Taylor delivers a live reading of a lyric essay she wrote about her own personal trauma. Alex and Ryan also speak with Emily Ruby - a curator at the Heinz History Center museum in Pittsburgh, PA - about her work collecting and preserving the memories and stories of people in the Pittsburgh community.

*Trigger warning* This episode contains brief descriptions of traumatic events such as torture and the death of family members.

Works and concepts cited in this episode:

Butler, J. (2010). Frames of war: When is life grievable? Brooklyn, NY: Verso Books.

Delillo, D. (2007). Falling man. New York, NY: Scribner.

Fair, E. (2007, Feb. 9). An Iraq interregator’s nightmare. Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/08/AR2007020801680.html

Fair, E. (2014, Dec. 9). I can’t be forgiven for Abu Ghraib. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/10/opinion/the-torture-report-reminds-us-of-what-america-was.html

Fair, E. (2016). Consequence: A memoir. New York, NY: Henry Holt & Co.

Phillips, K. (2010). The failure of memory: Reflections on rhetoric and public remembrance. Western Journal of Communication, 74(2), 208-223.

Plato. (1992). Theaetetus. (M. J. Levett, Rev., Myles F. Burnyet, Trans., B. Williams, Ed.). Indianapolis: Hackett.

Rugg, T. (2017). As a star moves among stars in the night’s darkening. The Journal, 41(4). http://thejournalmag.org/archives/12542

Donald Trump stating that torture “absolutely” works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUtAUu_3Yks


Alex Helberg