New Series Examines Complexities of Healing From Cultural Trauma

New Series Examines Complexities of Healing From Cultural Trauma

The College of Charleston is embarking on a semester-long series aimed at giving voice to sociological trauma and the ways in which societies, countries and cultures have worked to heal from conflicts born out of issues such as systemic racism, slavery, genocide and political oppression.

The loosely unified series, titled “When the War Is Over: Memory, Division, and Healing,” brings together a collection of public lectures and forums that address historical trauma and the ways in which sites that have experienced such trauma have moved, or might move toward building a sustainable, peaceful community. From slavery and segregation in the United States to the Holocaust and the Vietnam War to the impact of the native Brazilian peoples upon the arrival of the Portuguese in the 17th century, the series explores the complexities of how groups move on from a collective feeling of trauma.

“In broadening the discussion from Charleston and the United States to include the Northern Irish ‘Troubles’ and the Holocaust, the series aims to provide a discursive context within which a fundamental commitment to human rights governs policy decisions that lead toward peaceable coexistence, the eradication of racism and other forms of discrimination, and the prevention of genocide,” says Simon Lewis, associate dean for the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs and director of the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World program.

A complete list of events associated with the series is available on the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW) Program website.

The series will culminate in a two-day conference titled “Memory, Monuments and Memorials” on April 28 & 29, 2018. The featured keynote speaker is Israeli-American architect Michael Arad, designer of the 9/11 monument in New York City and designer of the proposed Emanuel A.M.E. Church memorial in Charleston.

Other notable events in the series include:

“Resilient Injustices, Unyielding Resolve”

Part of the Conseula Francis Emerging Scholar Lecture Series, this talk will feature Clifton Granby, assistant professor of ethics and philosophy at Yale Divinity School, who will examine the significance of James Baldwin and Howard Thurman for ongoing struggles against racial, gender and economic injustice. The event will take place at 6 p.m. on Jan. 25, 2018, in Room 227 of Addlestone Library.

“The Stages of Memory: Reflections on Memorial Art, Loss and the Spaces Between”

An examination of the role of monuments as a nation’s collective memory, James E. Young, professor of English and Judaic Studies Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, will trace what he calls an “arc of memorial vernacular” and discuss how nations commemorate against the grain of their national legacies, remember their victims and their national shame. This lecture will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2018, in the Stern Center Ball Room.

“Freedoms Gained and Lost: Reinterpreting Reconstruction in the Atlantic World”

In honor of the 150th Anniversary of South Carolina’s 1868 Constitutional Convention, South Carolina’s multiracial Constitutional Convention that ushered in legal reforms, provided for public education, expanded the franchise, and promised numerous other rights, the College of Charleston will host a conference entitled “Freedoms Gained and Lost: Reinterpreting Reconstruction in the Atlantic World.” The conference will include an original exhibit in Special Collections at the Addlestone Library, showcasing the documentary heritage of Reconstruction and the post-emancipation era in South Carolina and the Atlantic world. The conference, sponsored by the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World program, will take place March 16-18, 2018.