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Transdisciplinary Trauma Studies: Trauma Through Contemporary and Historical Perspectives

CEU Summer University Course

                                                                            11-16 July 2022


Course Director
  • Anna Menyhért
    Democracy in History, Democracy Institute, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Course Faculty
  • Gillian Eagle
    Department of Psychology, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Thomas Fetzer
    Department of International Relations, Central European University, Vienna, Austria/Budapest, Hungary
  • Gina Donoso
    Department of Political Science, Central European University, Vienna, Austria/Budapest, Hungary
  • Mykola Makhortykh
    Institute of Communication and Media Studies, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • Annie St. John-Stark
    Department of Philosophy, History and Politics, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

Individual and collective traumas are increasingly at the heart of social and political decision-making in different parts of the world. Different forms of trauma shape our perception of the social reality, ranging from #MeToo and BlackLivesMatter to the Stolen Generations and the Holocaust, the pandemic, and climate-catastrophes. They impact the ways we recognize and remember but also forget and silence past and present injustices. The divergent attitudes towards these traumatic experiences determine both how our societies currently look like and how they will look like in the future. The comprehensive assessment of different facets of trauma is thus urgent.
The field of Transdisciplinary Trauma Studies represents the new tendencies in the intersecting areas studying trauma in the 21st century. The necessity to incorporate diverse perspectives on trauma coming from different cultures as well as different academic disciplines prompts the need for re-conceptualizing the field of trauma studies.
The proposed course is part of a longer curricular/training initiative; the initiative of a new program in Transdisciplinary Trauma Studies. The course thus is mapping the results of a new research field in teaching, providing information on the newest developments of trauma research, bringing together approaches from across disciplines such as cultural studies, psychology, history, computer science, gender studies, human rights, and beyond.


We will show students how the element of trauma is present in various areas of social and cultural life, and how trauma-informed approaches help understand processes of othering and traumatization, and how they can help in building resilience. We aim to make our students familiar with innovative approaches in studying trauma in different academic fields and provide them with capacities necessary for developing greater empathy: we would like our students to acquire knowledge and also to develop an awareness of the complexity of how trauma is interwoven into enduring forms of conflict or oppression, and how the long-term impact of trauma is present in our own time.

Course structure

The seminars cover some of the newest topics in trauma studies, including continuous trauma; catastrophe-related trauma and resilience; cultural and literary trauma narratives, digital trauma and trauma-related content curation by algorithmic systems; gendered trauma; migration trauma; human rights and trauma; and the comparative study of historical trauma.

Application deadline: 28 February 2022
For more information visit the course page at the CEU SUN website.
Research areas: