25-26 November 2016 at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
This conference explores the diversity of languages of psychological trauma in comparative cross-national perspectives and in varying socio-cultural contexts. Besides variations in the medical, socio-historical and political conceptualization of individual and/or collective traumas, it will analyze medial-representations, artistic reflections as well as more subjective forms of traumatic experiences and perceptions of the traumatized, including men, women and children—both as victims of mental/emotional damage and as perpetrators of violence.
Moving trauma research towards new sites of inquiry and innovative methodologies, Languages of Trauma concentrates specifically on dynamics and interconnections between language and trauma in audio-visual media, visual culture, national historiographies, medical and political discourse, literary narratives, and the fine arts. Within this broad subject area, the conference speakers will focus on questions of disciplinary terminology, as well as medical aetiology, diagnosis and treatment, and we will ask how different cultures and interest groups – medical professionals, traumatized individuals and communities, patients, families, politicians, artists and academic scholars – shaped distinct notions and conceptions of “trauma.” How do historically shifting and at times competing understandings of trauma alter and transform forms of trauma languages? Particular attention will be given to the question of how “trauma” is displayed in film corpora from various periods of the 20th and 21st centuries (in medical and feature films as well as in documentaries), and their connection to memory politics, national identity constructions and scientific discourse.
Integrating scholarship across nationalities (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, UK, USA) and various disciplines – including film, media and culture studies, medicine, psychology, history, art history, literature and communications, and international political science – the conference investigates the nexus between trauma symptoms, histories, mediality and epistemology. Continue reading