Roundtable, " Strategies for Teaching Trauma in the Premodern Classroom" at the International Congress on Medieval Studies ("Kalamazoo")

deadline for submissions: 
September 15, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Babel Working Group
contact email: 

Babel seeks participants for a roundtable on teaching trauma in the premnodern classroom at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 10-13, 2018. Desscription of the roundtable:

"Strategies for Teaching Trauma" begins with the assumption that students and instructors will identify with and live through texts in varied ways, including in ways that may touch upon particularly horrific events in their own lives. Since 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18, and, indeed, since rape culture is a key feature of several college campuses (as witnessed most recently by the case of the Baylor Football team), what is the most responsible way to teach Chaucer's Reeve's Tale, for instance? After all, its "comic" plot hinges on rape. Or what about other texts? The Prioress' Tale features the murder of a child; and hagiography, particularly that featuring female saints, is rife with sexualized mutilation. So, given that 26% of children will witness a traumatic event before they turn four, it is imperative that instructors are better able to teach through, around, and about these traumas.


This roundtable invites participants to share, interrogate, and reflect on teaching traumatic texts in today’s classroom environment. Panelists may share pedagogical methods they’ve found successful (or not) in teaching traumatic texts. What risks are involved in teaching about/through trauma? How do we guard our students and sometimes ourselves from exposure to triggers? Presenters may also address trauma and gender: how do responses to trauma differ if trans men or women, or cis women come out as having had these experiences, versus cis men? Or, trauma and race: how do responses differ among people of color and/or indigenous groups? What about trauma’s intersections with medical humanities and disability studies? Finally, presenters may reflect on what it means to teach through their own traumas. How do instructors affected by trauma approach teaching such moments, and what do we risk in doing so?


Abstracts of 300 words plus PIF form (available here: to  MElmes by Friday, September 15, 2017.