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Unhealable Wounds: Gothic and the Question of Trauma
full name / name of organization:
Dale Townshend, University of Stirling
A one-day Symposium for Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers at the University of Stirling, Scotland
Since the eighteenth century, the Gothic aesthetic has been intimately tied to the experience and representation of trauma, be it personal, historical, cultural or otherwise. Early writers of the Gothic continuously rehearsed their preoccupations with familial violence and rupture, while the chaotic historical events of the French Revolution inscribed their traces in some of the mode’s most enduring conventions. During the nineteenth century, Gothic became enlisted in addressing the wounds and traumas of the bourgeois subject, the subject of sexuality, gender, nationhood, class and race. In the films, fictions, graphic novels and art-works of modernity and post-modernity, the Gothic aesthetic is often used to signify or at least gesture towards the fall-out of the traumatic event, from the World at War to Hiroshima, Chernobyl, global terrorism, 9/11 and beyond. While psychoanalytically-derived trauma theory might teach that the traumatic event remains, at heart, unrepresentable, traces of the Gothic are often perceivable in those cultural modes that do variously seek to register, address, confront, represent, respond to or work through an experience of traumatic wounding. This one-day interdisciplinary symposium seeks to explore the connections, intersections and overlaps between trauma and the Gothic from the eighteenth century through to the present day. Possible topics might include (but are not limited to) the following:
Please send 250-word abstracts for 20-minute presentations to Dale Townshend at firstname.lastname@example.org by 8 October 2012.