Histcon.se Time, Memory and Representation Tid, Minne, Representation

A Multidisciplinary Program on Transformations in Historical Consciousness

Ett mångdisciplinärt forskningsprogram om historiemedvetandets förvandlingar


Call for Papers: Mending Wounds: Healing, Working Through, or Staying in Trauma?

Published on 14 February, 2011

Special Issue – Call for Papers –Journal of Literary Studies

Special Issue – Call for Papers –Journal of Literary Studies

Mending Wounds: Healing, Working Through, or Staying in Trauma?


Guest Editors: Dr Liz Kella, Södertörn University and the University of Uppsala, Sweden;

Dr David Watson, University of Uppsala, Sweden; and

Professor Merle Williams, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.


Trauma has often been theorized as unrepresentable, as severely challenging the representational capacities of both language and visual media. Yet it has also been suggested that literary and other aesthetic modes have a unique potential for expressing the experience of trauma. Yet again, there may be aesthetic and/or political investments in keeping trauma alive, in denying or refusing closure.

This volume seeks to bring together critical explorations of the aesthetic, ethical and political dimensions of trauma in Southern African and North American/Caribbean art and culture. Our focus falls on the material, corporeal embodiment of trauma in wounds and scars (as well as on its psycho-somatic analogues). Can wounds and scars be said to make the psychological or cultural dimensions of traumatic experience representable? What role do they play in imagining – or, on the contrary, refusing – the healing and mending of lived traumas? What mnemonic function does the scar have in relation to the original trauma? What are the ethics of remembering and forgetting? How do such opposed responses come to represent closure or continuation?

Drawing on diverse academic fields, this volume will explore different approaches to the ways in which wounds and scars may challenge notions of the unrepresentability of trauma, thus aiming to contribute to the conceptualization of a therapeutic temporality that moves beyond current European ethico-political perspectives. Envisaged articles should not exceed 5,000 words. Please submit a proposal of no more than 500 words, together with a short CV, by the deadline of 28 February to David Watson (david.watson@engelska.uu.se).




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