Course details and application:
Course rationale and aims
Individual and collective traumas are increasingly at the heart of social and political decision-making in different parts of the world. Different forms of trauma shape our perception of social reality, ranging from #MeToo and BlackLivesMatter to the Stolen Generations and the Holocaust, the pandemic, and climate catastrophes. They impact the ways we recognize and remember but also forget and silence past and present injustices. The divergent attitudes towards these traumatic experiences determine both how our societies currently look and how they will look in the future. The comprehensive assessment of different facets of trauma is thus urgent.
The field of Transdisciplinary Trauma Studies represents the new tendencies in the intersecting areas studying trauma in the 21st century. The necessity to incorporate diverse perspectives on trauma coming from different cultures as well as different academic disciplines prompts the need for re-conceptualizing the field of trauma studies.
The proposed course is part of a longer curricular/training initiative; the initiative of a new program in Transdisciplinary Trauma Studies. The course thus is mapping the results of a new research field in teaching, providing information on the newest developments of trauma research, and bringing together approaches from across disciplines such as cultural studies, psychology, history, computer science, gender studies, human rights, and beyond.
We will show students how the element of trauma is present in various areas of social and cultural life, how trauma-informed approaches help understand processes of othering and traumatization, and how they can help in building resilience. We aim to make our students familiar with innovative approaches to studying trauma in different academic fields and provide them with capacities necessary for developing greater empathy: we would like our students to acquire knowledge and also develop an awareness of the complexity of how trauma is interwoven into enduring forms of conflict or oppression, and how the long-term impact of trauma is present in our own time.
The seminars cover some of the newest topics in trauma studies, including continuous trauma; catastrophe-related trauma and resilience; digital trauma and trauma-related content curation by algorithmic systems; gendered trauma; migration trauma; human rights and trauma; and the comparative study of historical trauma; representations of trauma in the arts, literature, film.
Course Format & Main Themes
The course combines lectures with method practicums together with additional collaborative formats (e.g., a reflective walking tour and student presentations).
The seminars and lectures intersectingly cover 5 main themes discussed during the week:
- Theoretical foundations of transdisciplinary trauma research
- Psychological trauma and psychosocial consequences of traumatization
- (Digital) media and trauma
- Trauma, memory, and representations in literature and film
- Human rights, politics, and trauma
Application is possible via the following website until 14 February: