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Wed 12 April
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Wednesday 12 April 2023 14.00 - 16.00
I-3 THE02 Historicizing Traumatic Identities: Political and Cultural Contexts in Comparative Perspective
B33
Network: Theory Chair: Willemijn Ruberg
Organizers: Ido de Haan, Willemijn Ruberg Discussant: Ido de Haan
Moderators: -
Ana Antic : Narratives of Loss and Suffering: Discourses of Post-war Trauma in 20-century Yugoslavia
This paper explores the role that the concept of psychological trauma played in psychiatric, political and cultural discourses of socialist and post-socialist Yugoslavia. It places Yugoslav psychiatric and non-psychiatric debates in a broader European and global context, asking how the socialist revolution and language of socialist reconstruction affected perceptions, expressions ... (Show more)
This paper explores the role that the concept of psychological trauma played in psychiatric, political and cultural discourses of socialist and post-socialist Yugoslavia. It places Yugoslav psychiatric and non-psychiatric debates in a broader European and global context, asking how the socialist revolution and language of socialist reconstruction affected perceptions, expressions and narratives of psychological pain. The paper zooms in on two important wartime and postwar periods in the 20th century – the post-WWII years and the 1990s. It explores the conditions that enabled psychiatric silences, broader cultural and literary expressions of suffering, as well as the use of the medical language of trauma to articulate politically controversial issues which could not otherwise be expressed. Finally, the paper traces the trajectory of universalizing trauma discourses in Eastern Europe, asking how they were translated, adapted and resisted. (Show less)

Lara Bergers : Trauma and other Harm: Understanding the Emotional and Psychological Consequences of Sexual Violence in the 20th Century
In the 1970s and 1980s, international feminist activism put a spotlight on victims of sexual abuse, aiming to improve their situations and experiences. The concept of trauma was fundamentally important to these efforts. It not only provided victims and their advocates with a terminology for speaking about what they had ... (Show more)
In the 1970s and 1980s, international feminist activism put a spotlight on victims of sexual abuse, aiming to improve their situations and experiences. The concept of trauma was fundamentally important to these efforts. It not only provided victims and their advocates with a terminology for speaking about what they had experienced, but shifted the nature of scientific discussions and shaped the victims’ rights discourse and resulting legal changes. The absence of a sustained discourse on sexual trauma before the 1970s — in spite of the widespread use of the notion of trauma in other domains — has troubled many activists and historians; the apparent reluctance to use trauma in reference to victims of sexual crime has clear connections with a historical — and ongoing — reluctance to acknowledge sexual victimhood itself.

Notwithstanding, in this paper I show, following Lisa Cardyn, that sexual trauma was explored in some specific bodies of literature before the 1970s, although it was certainly under-used and under-theorised. Moreover, I show that taking a more general view of emotional and psychological harm — which includes, but is not limited to, the notion of trauma — allows us to see more precisely when and how victims of sexual violence were and were not acknowledged. In order to make these arguments I have examined a wide variety of sources written and read in the Netherlands between 1930 and 1980, including case files relating to sexual violence investigations as well as medico-legal texts, police handbooks and autobiographical writings. (Show less)

Svenja Goltermann : The Politics of Trauma: Germany before and after 1989
Today, it is hardly surprising that the devastating war in Ukraine almost immediately brought the issue of trauma into the Western media. Strikingly, the focus of the German media is not only on the re-traumatization of Holocaust survivors or the traumatization expected among a large number of refugees and raped ... (Show more)
Today, it is hardly surprising that the devastating war in Ukraine almost immediately brought the issue of trauma into the Western media. Strikingly, the focus of the German media is not only on the re-traumatization of Holocaust survivors or the traumatization expected among a large number of refugees and raped women, but above all on the psychological trauma that Germans, especially civilians, suffered during the Second World War.
Without doubt, these narratives reveal a widespread acceptance of the concept of trauma. However, it is noteworthy that there is currently no mention of possible traumas suffered by soldiers ? a clear indication that public speaking about psychological trauma is still permeated by political and moral factors today.

However, looking at German history after 1945 shows that this was a story with several shifts. In my presentation, I will therefore look at when and why speaking about psychological trauma became possible in the Federal Republic and in the GDR, who it included (and who it did not), and I will thereby explore the question of how medical knowledge, politics and moral values related to each other before and after 1989. (Show less)

Andrea Peto : Shame as the Illiberal Alternative to Trauma Discourse: Hungary’s ‘Monument to Women Raped in War’
In January 2020, a resolution in favor of erecting the ‘Monument to Women Raped in War’ was adopted by the General Assembly of Budapest. The project, which included an international design competition, aims for the construction of a memorial by 2023. The resolution was passed with the support of the ... (Show more)
In January 2020, a resolution in favor of erecting the ‘Monument to Women Raped in War’ was adopted by the General Assembly of Budapest. The project, which included an international design competition, aims for the construction of a memorial by 2023. The resolution was passed with the support of the parties constituting the opposition of the governing Fidesz party, which is exceptional. The monument and the debate around it demonstrate how in Hungary’s illiberal memory politics the concept of trauma is replaced by that of shame as a tool to create a new political citizenship. ‘Unashamed citizens’ have been a major force behind progressive movements and revolutions. By ignoring and challenging the economy of emotions, different social groups have successfully challenged value systems that were previously seen as unchangeable. This social dynamic however is not static, not individualistic, and can change collective social dynamics towards exclusionary practices, not only towards inclusionary practices. What is ‘cool’ can shift and alter from context to context. By mapping how shame is narrated in relation to sexual violence during the Second World War I will explore how shame has replaced the notion of trauma in the new memory politics of illiberal states as an empowering affect and how it is used as mobilization force. (Show less)



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