Introduction

Introduction

Before the printing press, the internet, and Siri, people stored large amounts of information in their minds. Lucius Scipio, for example, reportedly remembered the name of every Roman citizen. How could he have done that--if he did do it? One possible technique is called the memory palace. It relies on the mind’s capacities to visualize spaces and create images. People visualize either a building filled with rooms or a pathway with landmarks. Then they create images that they associate with information, and then place those images in the rooms or along the pathway. When they need to recall something, they mentally move through the building or along the road in order to remember the necessary information. In this way, memory becomes deeply intertwined with places and spaces.

This class investigates this connection between place and memory from two different directions. First, we will learn to create memory palaces and use them to recall more information than we could before. You will not only learn the theory, you will learn the technique. Then you will compete in a memory championship that tests your memory. You will memorize shuffled decks of cards, poems, names and numbers. Second, this mnemonic method was linked to specific ways of making arguments. We will also study this method of making arguments and use it to analyze Singaporean public spaces.