Location

University of Windsor

Related Website

http://sas.lau.edu.lb/social-sciences/people/samar-zebian.php

Event Type

Presentation

Start Date

29-5-2013 1:45 PM

End Date

29-5-2013 3:00 PM

Description

The paper for the symposium on Arab Youth Identity has two parts, the first discusses research on the Living in History effect and why some national samples have shown a heightened level of historical consciousness. The second part proposes a project to examine how living in history affects the intergenerational transmission of personal and historical memories among youth living in Lebanon.

The line of research I wish to discuss in this symposium examines why some individuals and some groups in some nations have a heightened historical consciousness. Research by cognitive scientists studying memory has shown that individuals living through collectively experienced events such as natural disasters or long term chronic conflict (such as war) gives rise to the temporal re-organization of autobiographical memories. Under most circumstances, individuals employ a personal frame of reference to date autobiographical events. For example, when asked to date an autobiographical memory, individuals generally default to using personal landmarks (i.e., such and such happened before my marriage, after the birth of my first child). This is not true for individuals who have lived through various forms of catastrophic upheaval (Brown, Hansen, Lee, Vanderveen, & Conrad, 2012; Brown & Lee, 2010; Brown, Lee, Krslak, Conrad, Hansen, Havelka, & Reddon, 2009; Zebian & Brown, 2012). These people often use public events and/or historical periods when they estimate dates for personal events. This tendency, which has been labeled the Living-in-History (LiH) Effect, has been observed in two samples in Lebanon as well as in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Izmit, Turkey; the Lebanese endured a 15 year civil war and significant post war conflict, the Bosnians had endured three years of civil war in the early 1990s; the Turks had lived through a massive earthquake in the summer of 1999. The LiH effect was absent (or very modest) in 22 other samples collected from young adults living in Canada, Demark, the US (including post-9/11 New York City), Israel, and Russia (Brown & Lee, 2010).

I will discuss the conditions that bring about the Living in History effect and its significance in the Lebanese context.

In the second part of the symposium I will go on to report about a study which examines how parents who have lived in contexts of societal upheaval and who may or may not show the Living in History effect pass on their personal and historical memories to their children and what in fact their children know about their parents’ lives. The proposed line of work has the potential to raise important issues in the Lebanese context (and similar contexts) because it grounds collective memory, often a very fuzzy and easily manipulated concept, in the lived experiences of families. There will also be the opportunity to re-examine the many assumptions that scholars and researchers have made about the inner lives of the civil war generation and the memories that they retain of past and also what has been passed on to their children.

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May 29th, 1:45 PM May 29th, 3:00 PM

The Living in History Effect and the Intergenerational Transmission of Memories

University of Windsor

The paper for the symposium on Arab Youth Identity has two parts, the first discusses research on the Living in History effect and why some national samples have shown a heightened level of historical consciousness. The second part proposes a project to examine how living in history affects the intergenerational transmission of personal and historical memories among youth living in Lebanon.

The line of research I wish to discuss in this symposium examines why some individuals and some groups in some nations have a heightened historical consciousness. Research by cognitive scientists studying memory has shown that individuals living through collectively experienced events such as natural disasters or long term chronic conflict (such as war) gives rise to the temporal re-organization of autobiographical memories. Under most circumstances, individuals employ a personal frame of reference to date autobiographical events. For example, when asked to date an autobiographical memory, individuals generally default to using personal landmarks (i.e., such and such happened before my marriage, after the birth of my first child). This is not true for individuals who have lived through various forms of catastrophic upheaval (Brown, Hansen, Lee, Vanderveen, & Conrad, 2012; Brown & Lee, 2010; Brown, Lee, Krslak, Conrad, Hansen, Havelka, & Reddon, 2009; Zebian & Brown, 2012). These people often use public events and/or historical periods when they estimate dates for personal events. This tendency, which has been labeled the Living-in-History (LiH) Effect, has been observed in two samples in Lebanon as well as in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Izmit, Turkey; the Lebanese endured a 15 year civil war and significant post war conflict, the Bosnians had endured three years of civil war in the early 1990s; the Turks had lived through a massive earthquake in the summer of 1999. The LiH effect was absent (or very modest) in 22 other samples collected from young adults living in Canada, Demark, the US (including post-9/11 New York City), Israel, and Russia (Brown & Lee, 2010).

I will discuss the conditions that bring about the Living in History effect and its significance in the Lebanese context.

In the second part of the symposium I will go on to report about a study which examines how parents who have lived in contexts of societal upheaval and who may or may not show the Living in History effect pass on their personal and historical memories to their children and what in fact their children know about their parents’ lives. The proposed line of work has the potential to raise important issues in the Lebanese context (and similar contexts) because it grounds collective memory, often a very fuzzy and easily manipulated concept, in the lived experiences of families. There will also be the opportunity to re-examine the many assumptions that scholars and researchers have made about the inner lives of the civil war generation and the memories that they retain of past and also what has been passed on to their children.

http://scholar.uwindsor.ca/arabyouthsymp/conference_presentations/presentations/2