[UPDATE - Deadline extension] Beyond Trauma: Narratives of (Im)possibility (in Contemporary Literatures in English) - 31 March-

full name / name of organization: 
Universidad de Zaragoza - Spain

(in Contemporary Literatures in English)

Departamento de Filología Inglesa y Alemana
Universidad de Zaragoza
March 31 – April 2, 2011

For more than two decades, the causes, effects and manifestations of traumatic experiences have been studied from a variety of perspectives: psychoanalysis, medicine, anthropology, history and literature. As is well known, trauma involves personal or collective shock, disempowerment and memory disorders. The recovery process does not usually follow a linear, uninterrupted sequence; traumatic events refuse to be put away, since the memory of trauma keeps coming back in incomprehensible and fragmentary forms such as hallucinations, nightmares or flashbacks. Somehow, resolution of the trauma is never final, recovery is never complete, as the impact of the traumatic event continues to reverberate throughout the survivor's life.
Beyond Trauma: Narratives of (Im)possibility seeks to analyse this phenomenon and the possibilities of recovering from trauma as represented in contemporary narratives in English. Is fiction the appropriate site to explore the therapeutic process of working through traumatic events? Or are non-fictional forms like testimony or autobiography better equipped for it? What narrative strategies are deployed in order to convey that process? Are some literary genres more suitable than others for the representation of trauma and/or self healing? Is there any significant divergence in the approach to trauma and healing by hegemonic and marginal or minority groups? How are the ethical implications of representing trauma conveyed?
We welcome contributions that explore these and other related issues.

Suggested topics for discussion include, but are not limited to:

• Ethics and the aftermath of trauma
• The possibilities of working through trauma
• Repetition, obsession and the return of the dead
• Loss, mourning, commemoration and ritual
• Formal experimentation and the representation of trauma and healing
• The invisible inscription of gender and its traumatic effects
• The depathologization of melancholia in non-normative genders and sexualities
• Survival and guilt
• Unresolved mourning
• Victims as/and perpetrators
• From dissociated trauma to acknowledged memory
• From traumatic memory to the narrative of the unspeakable
• Remembrance and affect
• The revenge fantasy versus the forgiveness fantasy
• Recovery and the reawakening of trauma
• Trauma as the source of a survivor mission (political, social, religious commitment)
• Transgenerational trauma and the (im)possibility of recovery
• Unhealed racial divisions and violence
• Testimony as a ritual of healing

Confirmed plenary speakers: Cathy Caruth, Avril Horner, Roger Luckhurst, Joy Harjo.

Three copies of completed papers (max. 2,500 words, aprox. 9 double-spaced pages, including notes and works cited) following the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, together with a 100-150 word abstract should be sent to the organisers. Author information is to be sent in a separate sheet (including name, filiation, contact address and paper title). Deadline for submissions: December 31st, 2010.

Marita Nadal (mnadal@unizar.es) Mónica Calvo (mocalvo@unizar.es)
Dpto. de Filología Inglesa y Alemana
Facultad de Filosofía y Letras. Campus Plaza San Francisco
Universidad de Zaragoza
50009 Zaragoza