Letters

Letters


Fall 2010, Vol. 19, No. 1 (requires Adobe Acrobat)

Trauma: Memory, the Body, and the Arts

photo

Vivien G. Fryd, (left), Ellen Bass, (center) and Linda Manning, (right)

The 2008/2009 Warren Center Faculty Fellows group hosted a three-day symposium March 18–20, 2010 as the culminating event of their yearlong exploration of the theme “New Directions in Trauma Studies.” The scholars who took part in the seminar at the Warren Center planned and implemented the conference. Participants in the 2008/2009 Fellows Program included: Laura Carpenter (sociology), Kate Daniels (English), Jon Ebert (psychiatry), Vivien Green Fryd (history of art), Christina Karageorgou-Bastea (Spanish), Claire Sisco King (communication studies), Linda Manning (Vanderbilt Center for Integrative Health), and Charlotte Pierce-Baker (women’s and gender studies and English). The 2008/2009 William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellow was Maurice E. Stevens (comparative studies, Ohio State University).

The conference sessions and invited speakers represented diverse areas of theoretical interests related to the newly emerging field of trauma studies. At the opening session of the conference on Thursday evening, March 18, participants viewed the filmmaker John Crowley’s work “Boy A.” Claire Sisco King led a discussion after the viewing that focused on the film’s ethical considerations of the impacts of childhood suffering, victimization, and human subjectivity.

Invited speakers presented papers at the conference sessions on Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19. Jackie Orr, associate professor of sociology at Syracuse University, presented a performative lecture entitled “Body Animations (or, Lullaby for Fallujah).” Among other works, Professor Orr is the author of Panic Diaries: A Genealogy of Panic Disorder (Duke University Press, 2006). Marianne Hirsch, William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, delivered a talk entitled “Objects of Return.” Her paper drew from her recent book (co-authored with Leo Spitzer) entitled Ghosts of Home: the Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory and History (University of California Press, 2010). Poet Ellen Bass (Pacific University) contributed a paper titled “Strange Angels: Poetry as Survival.” Bass is most recently the author of The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press, 2007). Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw, associate professor of art history at the University of Pennsylvania, spoke about her work on visual culture and apocryphal history in a paper titled “Apocrypha after the Deluge.” Shaw’s most recent book publication is Seeing the Unspeakable: The Art of Kara Walker (Duke University Press, 2004). The final speaker at the conference, Kenneth Robinson, shared his work in a paper titled “Reclaiming Your Body after Trauma: Trauma from a Transpersonal, Body-Centered Perspective.” Robinson’s culminating remarks wove together the diverse theoretical approaches to the topic that had been represented at the conference sessions. Kenneth Robinson is a practicing psycho-
therapist in Nashville, Tennessee.

Vivien Green Fryd, director of the 2008/2009 Fellows Program at the Warren Center and that year’s Spence and Rebecca Webb Wilson Fellow, later commented on the program’s capstone event. “The symposium provided an opportunity for the participants in the Fellows Program to reconnect and to engage again in lively discussions. The work of the Fellows was supplemented by the lively intellectual presence of the visiting speakers who delivered stimulating and thought-provoking papers at the event. This experience confirmed our sense of success for the yearlong Fellows Program during which we consistently and respectfully interrogated the topic of trauma studies. Each of us involved in the program has had our horizons broadened and we are grateful to the Warren Center for providing us this opportunity for sustained interdisciplinary explorations.”

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