Addicted to Memory – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Addicted to Memory

First Fisher Center Lecture Tackles Sex, Drugs and Memory

One pill makes you remember and the other changes your gender? Is science affecting the way we remember even everyday, personal facts?

On Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Geneva Room, the Fisher Center will welcome its first speaker of the Spring '08 semester, author, journalist and zine artist Pagan Kennedy. In her lecture, “Sex and Drugs and Memory,” Kennedy will discuss how drugs in the 20th century changed the way we create our “autobiographical memories,” the way in which we represent experiences and personal information to ourselves.

Kennedy’s lecture will bring memory-related issues to the forefront from her two recent books: “Confessions of a Memory Eater” and “The First Man-Made Man.” The first is a novel that sets the stage for a drug that restores autobiographical memory and inevitably gets the main character “addicted to his own memory. The second is a biography that chronicles the first person in the world to undergo a female-to-male sex change. Combined, these books will let Kennedy delve deep into the plot of autobiographical memory.

Kennedy has written nine books and contributed to dozens of publications including The New York Times Magazine, Boston Magazine, Dwell and Details. She has received an NEA fellowship in fiction, a Smithsonian fellowship, a Barnes and Noble Discover Award, a place on the New York Times Notable Book list and a Massachusetts Book Award Honor in Nonfiction. She is a columnist for The Boston Globe Ideas section.

A roundtable talk will be held the following day, Thursday, from 9 to 10 a.m. in Demarest 212, The Fisher Center.

Kennedy will also host a workshop from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday in the Fisher Center titled “The Hook: A Workshop for Writers of Fiction and Creative Nonfiction.”

Her workshop will focus on how to grab a reader's attention and includes experiments involving lottery tickets, duct tape, and flame-retardant footsie pajamas. Students are encouraged to take any short stories or creative-nonfiction pieces that have been giving them trouble; it's also OK to go empty-handed.

Lunch will be provided and students should e-mail Associate Professor of Women's Studies Betty Bayer to reserve a spot.

The Finger Lakes Times included a story on the Spring 2008 semester series in the Tuesday, Jan. 22 edition. Read HWS Fisher Center series explores gender, memories.