2016 Schwartz Forum: 9/11 and the Creation of Collective Memory

Where: One Longfellow Square, 181 State St, Portland

When: November 5, 2016, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Cost: $15 per person. A limited number of student discounts are available; please call 773-5051 to find out more.


How, exactly, do our brains process information and create memories? And what if one of our memories is an event shared by an entire society—does that change our relationship to it? 9/11 has become a touchstone moment for our culture generally and for those individuals who were alive at the time. After 15 years of talking about it, our perceptions and understanding of that day have been shaped by the discourse with our friends and colleagues, in our classrooms,  and in the media—whether we’re aware of it or not. In this year’s Dorothy Schwartz Forum, we will explore the formation of collective memory, using 9/11 as a case study for how a society remembers—or forgets—together.


Alice Greenwald

Alice Greenwald, Director, 9/11 Memorial Museum

Greenwald has been the Director of the 9/11 Memorial Museum since 2006. As director, Greenwald is responsible for creating the museum that will tell the stories of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993.  She is in charge of developing programming, preparing exhibits, choosing artifacts, designing educational components, organizing and coordinating all the operational details of the museum, including overseeing the interior build-out and administration of the museum.

Before joining the 9/11 Memorial Museum, Greenwald served as Associate Museum Director for Museum Programs for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.  Greenwald has also served as Executive Director of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia; Acting Director, Curator and Assistant Curator of the Hebrew Union College Skirball Museum in Los Angeles; and Curatorial Assistant at the Maurice Spertus Museum in Judaica, Chicago.

William HirstWilliam Hirst, Malcolm B. Smith Chair and Professor of Psychology

William Hirst is a professor of psychology at The New School for Social Research. He received his graduate training at Cornell University and taught at Rockefeller University, Princeton University, and Cornell University before coming to The New School. Mr. Hirst has edited four volumes and published more than 75 articles on topics including attention, amnesia, and social aspects of memory, including recent work on collective memory and memory relating to September 11.

OsuchaEden Osucha, Associate Professor of English and member of the American Cultural Studies Program, Bates College

Eden Osucha is Associate Professor of English at Bates College where she teaches a course on representations of 9/11 and its aftermaths in U.S. literature and film. At Bates, Professor Osucha also serves on the faculty steering committees of the Programs in African-American Studies, American Cultural Studies, and Women and Gender Studies and is a co-curator of the English Department’s “Literary Arts Live” reading series. Her research expertise is in American literature from 1865-present, African American literature, Literature and Law, and critical studies of race, gender, and sexuality. The focus of her current research is the historical evolution of individual privacy in U.S. law, literature, and media culture in relation to the development of so-called “post-racial” thought. Her scholarship has appeared in scholarly journals in the fields of American Literature and Cultural Studies and several edited collections, and she is co-editor of a forthcoming special issue of American Literature on critical pedagogy in the field of American literary studies. 

Film screening

We are also offering a free program, “Site Seeing: 9/11 Through Documentary Shorts,” at SPACE Gallery in Portland, in partnership with Bates College Harward Center for Community Partnerships. This event is on September 11, 2016, beginning at 7:00 pm, and registration is not required.

Funded by:


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Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.