CFP: Early Modern Trauma – deadline 1 May 2016

Date / time: 18 February, 12:00 am

The present-day term ‘trauma’ refers to a wound or a paradigmatic disruption that disorients an individual or a community with overwhelming fear and suffering. The term “trauma” certainly has modern-day connotations, most commonly associated with WW1 and Freud, and trauma theory has been heavily shaped by responses to modern catastrophes. Indeed, trauma is often seen as inherently linked to modernity. However, psychological trauma as a result of distressing or disturbing experiences is a human phenomenon that has been recorded across time and cultures as far back as records of warfare and disaster exist.

With this in mind, we seek to compile an interdisciplinary collection of essays that explores the concept of trauma in an early modern context. In applying trauma theory to the early modern period, we are not seeking to engage in retrospective diagnosis but rather to discover what the application of trauma theory can reveal about the early modern period and, conversely, what conceptualisations of psychological trauma from the early modern period can tell us about trauma theory itself.

We invite preliminary proposals for papers that address any aspects of the issue of psychological trauma in the early modern period. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the narration, treatment, and/or attempts to name and conceptualise psychological wounds, as well as the ways in which trauma can shape both individual and collective memory. We also encourage (interdisciplinary) papers that explore the methodology of applying modern traumatology to an early modern context. Additional topics may include: combat-related trauma; multigenerational legacies of trauma; exile; slavery; healing and recovery; environmental devastation; witnessing; and commemoration/memorialisation. Finally, we welcome papers that explore the potential impact of developing the area of early modern trauma studies for the fields of traumatology and early modern studies.

We welcome preliminary proposals on these or related topics. Please send abstracts of approx. 150-200 words to both editors via email by 1 May, 2016.

Erin Peters (University of Gloucestershire, UK)

Cynthia Richards (Wittenberg University, Ohio, USA)