Conference Report by Jason Crouthamel
On November 25-26, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin hosted the conference, “Languages of Trauma,” sponsored by the Institut für Kulturwissenschaft (Humboldt-Universität) and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Brooks College at Grand Valley State University. The conference aimed to move trauma research towards new sites of inquiry and innovative methodologies, concentrating on interconnections between language and trauma in audio-visual media, visual culture, national historiographies, medical and political discourse, literary narratives, and the fine arts. The conference speakers focused on questions of disciplinary terminology and explored how different cultures and interest groups – medical professionals, traumatized individuals and communities, patients, families, politicians, artists, and academic scholars – shape distinct notions and conceptions of trauma. A central question that unified the conversations between international interdisciplinary colleagues included: how do shifting and at times competing theories and representations of trauma in different disciplines alter our understanding of trauma?