HENB01103U English - Elective 2, topic 3: Traumatic Memory: personal and collective histories

Volume 2015/2016

Trauma has a history: its personal effects and collective consequences alter according to time, place and culture. This course addresses the history of trauma in particular settings to give a comparative understanding of its personal effects and its cultural consequences: we investigate a group of case studies in depth, and trace change through time; our examples include the Great War, the Second World War and Northern Ireland. Our approach to the subject draws particularly on cultural history methodologies, paying particular attention to individuals and small groups because they illuminate the changing nature of trauma. Medical, military and political attitudes matter too because all shape the reception and welfare of traumatised individuals. Equally, there are alterations in wider social attitudes across time: towards mental disorders, commemoration, and the meaning of past events as they are subsequently re-interpreted. War trauma also has a rich history in literature and film which we will explore for its connections to and representations of experience, for its clues to changing social and cultural attitudes.

Required Readings: selected, including:

  • Tracey Loughran, ‘Shell Shock, Trauma, and the First World War: The Making of a Diagnosis and Its Histories’, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 67 (1) January 2012, pp. 94-119.
  • Joanna Bourke, ‘Sexual Violence, Bodily Pain, and Trauma: A History’, Theory Culture Society, 2012 29: 25-51
  • Graham Dawson, ‘Trauma and life-stories: survivor memoirs of Bloody Sunday’, in: Making Peace with the Past? Memory, trauma and the Irish Troubles (Manchester: MUP, 2007) pp. 122-52.


  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 162,75
  • Total
  • 204,75
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assesment