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IU Northwest to host public memory symposium April 14

Scholars offer unique perspectives on the cultural context of history


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Emily Banas
Office of Marketing and Communications

Erika Rose
Office of Marketing and Communications

While history may provide an account of certain events in our past, public memory is more of a cultural representation of how a society preserves those events in its collective memory. The various factors that influence how a society’s memory of history is shaped is the topic at hand at IU Northwest’s Public Memory Symposium, scheduled for Thursday, April 14.

Sponsored by the Center for Urban and Regional Excellence (CURE), the symposium begins at 8:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast in the Library Conference Center (105 B). Beginning at 9 a.m., IU Northwest faculty members will present their papers on various topics in public memory in Library Conference Center (110), including:

“Rags to Riches: Celebrity Worship and the Horatio Alger Myth”

Stephanie Shanks-Meile and Charles Gallmeier, professors of sociology, IU Northwest

“Vivid Memories of Public Events”

Mark Hoyert, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of psychology, IU Northwest

“Memory, Truth and Justice: The Role of Argentina’s Madres de Desaparecidos in Shaping National Consciousness Since the ‘Dirty War’”

Frank Caucci, associate professor of social work, IU Northwest

At 11 a.m., the symposium will switch to a more regional focus, with the following presentations:

“Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore: Building of a National Park”

Constantine Dillon, superintendent of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

“Northwest Indiana Environmental Concerns”

Mark Reshkin, professor emeritus of geosciences, IU Northwest

“Changing Definitions of Economic Assets in Northwest Indiana”

Lee Botts, founder of the Alliance for the Great Lakes and organizer of the Dunes Learning Center

At 2 p.m., the discussion will focus on issues of broader geography, with:

“Presidential Museums: The Persistence of Public Memory”

Claire Jerry, University of Illinois at Springfield

“Agents of Remembrance: The American Legion’s Role in the Origins of Indiana’s War Memorial, 1919-1925”

Mary Osborne, independent scholar

“Memory and Place: The Making of the Calumet Region”

Gary Cialdella, author of The Calumet Region: An American Place

Attendees are invited to stay for a brief reception at 3:30 p.m. to mingle with the presenters, followed by a keynote address at 4:15 p.m. by a leading scholar in American public memory, Edward Linenthal, a professor of history at Indiana University and editor of the Journal of American History.

Linenthal will present an illustrated lecture: “From Lexington and Concord to Oklahoma City: The Challenge of Public History.”

“The goal of this symposium is to bring into relief the stories behind structures and landscapes and remembered moments that are part of our lives but that we sometimes fail to recognize or consider what brought them into existence or why we remember them the way we do,” said Assistant Professor of History Christopher Young, who organized the event.

The symposium runs concurrently with the Seventh Annual College of Arts and Sciences Student Research Conference, also taking place in the Library Conference Center on April 14. Attendees are invited to hear about research projects by IU Northwest students.

The Library Conference Center at IU Northwest is located on 35th Avenue in Gary, just one half-mile south of I-80/94. For more information about the topics being presented at the IU Northwest Public Memory Symposium, contact Dr. Christopher Young at (219) 980-6563 or