The 2nd Global Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference – Storytelling & Trauma

Date(s) - 13/03/2021
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The experience of trauma is central to the human condition, but how we understand our experiences and explain them to others remains a subject of ongoing debate. The drive to tell the story of personal, communal and national traumas has taken many forms, ranging including oral and written narratives, visual art and music. The acts of creating and receiving these works has provided a means of coming to terms with traumatic events and their legacies. Though trauma may take many forms, abuse is arguably one of the most potent because of the physical, emotional and mental harm that comes with abusive interactions. For many who experience abuse, the desire to give voice to their trauma is countered by social or cultural attitudes about what constitutes abuse, what sorts of feelings are legitimate, which perspectives are worthy of being believed, and so forth. Yet, the omnipresence of stories and images of trauma and abuse across cultures and historical periods directs our attention to the ways the sharing and remembrance of pain – our own, and that of others – provides a way toward bearing witness, contemplating, processing and resolving the pain arising from this particular trauma. It is precisely because so much pressure can be brought to bear upon survivors to keep their trauma silent that it is crucial to explore the relationship between abuse and trauma.

The 2nd Global Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference – Storytelling & Trauma: Special Focus Abuse provides a platform for exploring how storytelling enables trauma caused by abuse to be brought to light, processed and re-signified through the connection between memory and communication, entailing what Cathy Caruth calls “an act of departure”. Disruptive experiences impact survivors’ self-perception and world awareness, both of which are informed by the fullness of individual experiences. It is therefore essential to approach the relationship between trauma, abuse and storytelling from an inter-disciplinary approach that is able to apprehend the implications of empathy, desensitization, witness, pain, confrontation and resolution of problems, and the simultaneity of past and present as these concepts are understood across relevant cultural, religious, psychological, political, geographical, linguistic, literary, artistic, technological, scientific, social and philosophical dimensions.

From the conversations and dialogues which take place, our intention is to form a selective innovative interdisciplinary publication to engender further research and collaboration.