Memory and Imagination: A Polymathic Inquiry

Oct 6 2022
When: 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Where: Sidney Center (previously known as the Harman Academy); Doheny Memorial Library, room 241
Event Type: Polymathic Pizza
RSVP Required
RSVP Code: PIZZA1006

Event Details

In conversation with scholars far-a-field from one another, this special TFW session explores what happens in our brain and heart when we remember the past and imagine the future.

Mara Mather, Gerontology, Psychology and Biomedical Engineering   

Jennifer West, Roski  

Viet Thanh Nguyen, English 

Speaker Information


Jennifer West

Associate Professor of Practice, Art / Director, MFA Art

Jennifer West​ is an artist who has explored materialism in film for over ten years. Born in Topanga, California, West lives and works in Los Angeles. She received an MFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and a BA with film and video emphasis from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. She has lectured widely on her ideas of the “Analogital” and is an Associate Professor of the Practice of Fine Arts at USC’s Roski School of Art and Design. Her writing has appeared in Artforum, Frieze and Mousse Magazine. West has produced eleven Zine artist books which were recently acquired by the Getty Museum. Her work is in museum and public collections such as and the Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China; Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Kadist Foundation (San Francisco/Paris), Zabludowicz Collection (London); Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Depart Foundation (Rome); Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania; Henry Art Gallery (Seattle); Rubell Collection (Florida); Saatchi Collection (London), among others. Significant commissions include Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, 2016-2017; Institute of Contemporary Arts, Art Night, London, 2016; High Line Art, New York, 2012; Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, 2010; and Turbine Hall at TATE Modern, London, 2009. Her solo exhibitions include: “ Future Forgetting", JOAN Los Angeles (2020); Emoji Piss Film, Contemporary Art Museum, St Louis, 2018; “ Is Film Over?, Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China (2017); Film is Dead…, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, 2017; Action Movies, Painted Films and History Collage, Museo d’Arte Provincia di Nuoro, Nuoro, 2017; Flashlights Filmstrips Projections, Tramway, Glasgow, 2016; Aloe Vera and Butter, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, UK (2012); Paintballs and Pickle Juice, Kunstverein Nürnberg, Nuremberg, (2010); Perspectives 171: Jennifer West, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, (2010); Lemon Juice and Lithium, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow (2008); White Room: Jennifer West, White Columns, New York, (2007).

Profile Photo

Viet Nguyen

University Professor, Aerol Arnold Chair of English and Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity and Comparative Literature

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer is a New York Times best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Other honors include the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America, the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Literary Excellence from the American Library Association, a California Book Award, and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in Fiction from the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association. A finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, the PEN Faulkner Award, and an LA Times Book Prize in the Mystery/Thriller category, The Sympathizer made it to over thirty best of the year lists, including those of the New York Times, Publishers Weekly,, Public BooksKirkus Reviews, The Guardian, Library Journal, Flavorwire, and BuzzFeed, among other venues. The foreign rights have been sold to twenty-eight countries. Its sequel, The Committed, is now available.

Nguyen is University Professor, Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and American Studies and Ethnicity, as well as a member of the steering committee for the Center for Transpacific Studies. His articles have appeared in numerous journals and books, including PMLA, American Literary History, Western American Literature, positions: east asia cultures critique, The New Centennial Review, Postmodern Culture, the Japanese Journal of American Studies, and Asian American Studies After Critical Mass. Many of his articles can be downloaded here.

Mara Mather

Gerontology, Psychology and Biomedical Engineering

Mara Mather’s research focuses on brain systems that regulate physiological and emotional arousal, how they affect attention, memory and decision making, and how these relationships change in aging. She has received the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology from the American Psychological Association, a National Institutes of Health K02 Career Development award, an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellowship and a Max Planck Sabbatical Award. She has been identified as one of the top 1% of scientists worldwide. Her current research focuses on the role of noradrenaline in age-related change in cognition and on how heart rate variability biofeedback can enhance function of the brain’s emotion regulation networks. She received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Princeton University and completed her undergraduate degree and postdoctoral training at Stanford University.