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Alan Tully, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

IHS to focus on history of trauma and its aftermath in 2013-2014

Posted: September 25, 2012
Hurricane Katrina survivors after evacuation, Astrodome, Houston Texas. Photo by Andrea Booher

Hurricane Katrina survivors after evacuation, Astrodome, Houston Texas. Photo by Andrea Booher

History is fraught with trauma: wars, genocides, mass rapes, enforced disappearances, and environmental disasters. In the twentieth-century alone, notes Professor Seth W. Garfield, Associate Professor of History and the incoming director of the Institute for Historical Studies for 2013-2015, over two hundred million people worldwide lost their lives in wars and political conflicts.

And according to the United Nations, there are currently forty million displaced persons and refugees worldwide, in addition to the millions of people who have been displaced by climate and environmental change. Pick up the newspaper or turn on the news and you will learn of violent crackdowns on protestors in the Middle East, economic meltdowns in Europe, and U.S. soldiers living with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Institute for Historical Studies' "Trauma and Social Transformation" theme in 2013-14 focuses on trauma as a transformative historical experience for individuals, families, communities, and nations. While the very nature of trauma makes it a complex phenomenon to document and analyze, Professor Garfield argues that “the historical field is both uniquely positioned and challenged to make sense of and narrate the legacies of unspeakable horrors and, for that reason, IHS seeks to foster vibrant intellectual discussion on the nature of trauma and social transformation.”

The Institute is pleased to invite scholars whose work draws from many fields to bring their own innovative and interdisciplinary perspectives to the analysis of trauma and its historical consequences.

Please see the IHS web site for more information about the theme and details of fellowship policies and application procedures.

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