American University of Sharjah

Trauma and History: Revisiting Refugees’ Narratives

Trauma History Revisiting Refugees Narratives Conference 2014

Trauma and History: Revisiting Refugees' Narratives

The dislocation of large numbers of peoples-many of whom become refugees-has become a perennial human problem. Most of these peoples have experienced profound trauma and we are interested in the ways in which these survivors find the emotional and psychological capacity to rebuild their shattered lives. Understanding their situations requires an interdisciplinary approach to attempt to recapture memories of peoples' ruptured lives as well as to identify indicators for resilience and even post-traumatic growth. Trauma and History is an attempt to analyze these responses by bringing two disciplines-psychology and history-to bear upon the response to human tragedy. That said, it is also clear that psychologists and historians will welcome the input from scholars in other disciplines in order to understand and ultimately help respond to human traumas.

This international conference adopts a multidisciplinary approach and furthermore aims to combine professional scholarship with undergraduate study. Scholars who are interested in the history, political economy and psychosocial experiences of refugees are invited to submit papers. Particular attention will be devoted to those interested in refugees in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the Indian Ocean regions. At the same time, the conference comes as a result of a Collaborative Teaching Award based on a course entitled Trauma and History. This course focuses on partition and applies an interdisciplinary methodology of understanding partition from both historical and psychological perspectives. Students in the course will be required to do a conference paper on this topic, which demands their critical reflection of boundaries present within a single discipline and encourages the discovery and application of joint methodologies. Furthermore, other students who are doing research on the fate of refugees in the MENA region are also encouraged to submit papers. Therefore, we are interested in gaining the participation of teacher/scholars who are motivated to be part of a hybrid conference, which has the chance to produce not only a better understanding of an immediate human problem (including the solutions to it) but also promises to capitalize on the dynamics that arise from student and faculty conversations.

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