This round-table, which featured literary critics Professor Stef Craps, Professor Bryan Cheyette and Dr. Alan Gibbs, was recorded as part of the “Decolonizing Trauma Studies” symposium organized by Dr. Sonya Andermahr and Dr. Larissa Allwork at The School of The Arts, The University of Northampton (15 May 2015). Convened a week after the University of Zaragoza’s “Memory Frictions” conference, where Cheyette, Gibbs, Andermahr and Allwork gave papers, the Northampton symposium and round-table was sponsored by The School of The Arts to coincide with Andermahr’s guest editorship of this special issue of Humanities
. Craps, Cheyette and Gibbs addressed five questions during the round-table. Namely, does trauma studies suffer from a form of psychological universalism? Do you see any signs that trauma studies is becoming more decolonized? What are the challenges of a decolonized trauma studies for disciplinary thinking? How does a decolonized trauma studies relate to pedagogical ethics? Finally, where do you see the future of the field? While this edited transcript retains a certain informality of style, it offers a significant contribution to knowledge by capturing a unique exchange between three key thinkers in contemporary trauma studies, providing a timely analysis of the impact of postcolonial theory on trauma studies, the state of the field and its future possibilities. Issues addressed include the problematic scholarly tendency to universalize a western model of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); the question of the centrality of the Holocaust in trauma studies and the implications of this for the study of atrocities globally; the vexed issues posed by the representation of perpetrators; as well as how the basic tenets of western cultural trauma theory, until recently so often characterized by a Caruth-inspired focus on belatedness and afterwardness, are being rethought, both in response to developments in the US and in answer to the challenge to ‘decolonize’ trauma studies.
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