Between Politics and Healing: Understanding Trauma in Conflicts and Recent Violent Transformation Processes from a Comparative Perspective

Date: 
Thursday, November 20, 2014 to Friday, November 21, 2014

Until recently, research into trauma has mainly focused on cases in ‘Western’ countries, taking as its point of reference everyday realities and key events in the modern history of Europe and North America. This conference, however, will explore which forms and kinds of traumas have developed in post-colonial societies and by which means they can be examined in a more adequate manner. More specifically, the conference aims to explore a number of different representations, narratives, images and meanings of traumatic situations and events in Middle Eastern countries, Europe and South Africa. Since trauma is also linked to politics and can ensue legal claims, trauma analysis in the cultural and social studies does not only have to critically scrutinize its conceptual assumptions, but also the political implications that are at work in each specific context. Central questions to be addressed in the conference are: What visual and narrative representations of trauma can be found in cultural, social, political, psychological and religious discourse? What are the potentials as well as the limitations and pitfalls of the trauma concept not only for the study of cultural production, but also for the political and social sciences dealing with specific contexts in which trauma is relevant? What reactions to the shocks brought about by the rising violence and further radicalization and fragmentation of society are to be observed? Not only psychological research into trauma but also literature, theatre, film and cultural scholarship, with its work of interpreting and creating understanding, are faced with the task of throwing light on these often concealed mechanisms, forms of expression, and consequences of trauma.

Venue: Gartensaal Schloss Wahn, Burgallee, 51147 Köln-Porz-Wahn

For schedule please note attached programme
For further information please contact: smilich(at)uni-koeln.de