MIC Seminar – Memory codes and Indigenous knowledge

Date/Time: Wed 12 Oct / 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Location: N802, 20 Chancellors Walk


Monash Indigenous Centre Seminar

Memory codes and Indigenous knowledge

Dr Lynne Kelly
La Trobe University

Indigenous Elders retain a vast store of information in memory well beyond anything which those in literate societies could contemplate. In this seminar I will discuss the transmission of scientific and technical knowledge among small-scale oral cultures across the world, with an emphasis on Australian Indigenous language groups. Elders retain a complex data bank of knowledge on which survival depends both physically and culturally: animals and plants, navigation and astronomy, genealogies, geography and geology … the list goes on and on. The extraordinarily long term recall of information over millennia is now well recognised. My research focusses on the mechanisms by which non-literate cultures maintain an entire information system in memory so accurately for so long. We have a great deal to learn from the mnemonic technologies of Indigenous cultures.

Dr Lynne Kelly is an Honorary Research Associate at Latrobe University and a science writer. Her most recent books are Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies (Cambridge University Press) and The Memory Code (Allen & Unwin).

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