Call for Papers: History, Memory, and Trauma – A Special Issue of Traumatology: An International Journal

In recent years trauma studies has emerged as an interdisciplinary field in the humanities and social sciences, drawing together scholars from history, anthropology, literary studies, disability studies, and other disciplines into a rich set of conversations about the nature and meaning of trauma. We have learned a great deal from these efforts, including the fact that the experience of trauma is deeply intertwined with the social and cultural forces through which people make meaning of the world, the fact that traumatic events cannot be conceptualized as independent of the historical process in which they occur (such as in so-called “natural” disasters), and the fact that memories of traumatic events (at both the individual and collective levels) are deeply intertwined with, but not the same as, historical narratives that document the suffering of the past. However, such conversations are largely distinct from the efforts of professionals who provide services to those who suffer from trauma, as well as the efforts of researchers who study trauma toward the goal of producing scientific knowledge about its treatment and impact. In our view, efforts to bridge these divides are sorely needed.

To this end, Traumatology: An International Journal seeks papers for a special issue on the theme of “History, Memory, and Trauma,” to appear in September 2009. Traumatology is a leading, peer-reviewed journal for professionals who study and treat people exposed to traumatic events, including natural disasters, war, accidents, physical and emotional abuse, hospitalization, sudden job loss, and major illness. Its readership is composed of both researchers who study trauma and its treatment and health-care providers, social workers, and others who provide services to people who suffer from traumatic experiences. We seek papers that shed light on the relationship between past, present, memory, and the experience, treatment, and study of trauma from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including history, literary studies, disability studies, science studies, and anthropology. We also seek papers on this theme from professionals in the fields of social work, nursing, and other areas who provide services to victims of trauma. Our goal is to provide a vehicle for scholars, treatment professionals, and others to engage with one another about the meaning of the past and its relationship to the experience and treatment of trauma today.

We are especially interested in papers that have significance for the treatment of people suffering from traumatic experiences, but papers that do not have direct relevance to treatment are also welcome. Literature reviews, critical interventions, and explorations of trauma in the past are also encouraged. Please send short proposals for papers (200-300 words) to [email protected] by October 1. Papers will be due by December 15 for peer review, with final drafts of papers due in March of 2009. Papers should be written in accessible language and appropriate for general readers. Target length for articles is 6,000-8,000 words, although submissions of different lengths will be considered.