Trauma and Memory: Reading, Healing, and Making Law

Trauma and Memory: Reading, Healing, and Making Law

Trauma and Memory: Reading, Healing, and Making Law

Trauma and Memory: Reading, Healing, and Making Law

Synopsis

Trauma and Memoryexplores different dimensions of trauma, both its relationship to the social sphere and to group identity, in order to open up new approaches to trauma from a healing perspective. The book's specific focus is doubly unique: first, because of its interest in the tension between collective and individual trauma (in trauma as socially constructed and related to identities of ethnicity, nationality, gender, and class); and second, because of its interest in the legal and medical professions (in their construction of trauma, their ways of treating it, their failures, and even their production of trauma). Trauma and Memoryreflects the ways in which, over the last several decades, a growing interest in the social and cultural contexts of law and medicine has transformed the study of both these professions. The authors provide new readings of social and political phenomena--such as immigration, public health, gender discrimination, and transitional justice--in terms of trauma. Finally, they address the therapeutic dimensions of trauma and their relationship to reconciliation via alternative processes such as mediation, truth committees, and other new forms of justice.

Excerpt

The event that inspired the publication of this book was an international conference on “Trauma and Memory: Subjective and Collective Experiences.” In the conference, which took place in December 2003 at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, experts from various disciplinary fields gathered to discuss the notion of trauma and explore universal and local manifestations of it. The dialogue that developed between historians, physicians, anthropologists, psychiatrists, lawyers, and philosophers in the conference indicated that there is fertile ground for further research in this field. This book follows this interest by integrating these diverse approaches to trauma through the organizing themes of the conference.

We thank the Unger-Goldenstein Interdisciplinary Center for Law, Rationality, Ethics, and Social Justice for sponsoring the conference and for enabling this book to develop. We thank Galia Schneebaum for her help in planning the conference and in reviewing the papers. Heather Hatch from Fordham University helped us with research and editing, and Angie Michaeli from Stanford University Press helped with the final stages of editing. Because two of us (Nadav Davidovitch and Michal Alberstein) are also married partners who share a household together, we thank each other for the mutual support, love, and encouragement throughout the long process of organizing the conference and of editing the book. Mostly we thank our children Dor, Shir, and little Ron-Dov who give us daily reasons to pursue our academic projects while caring for them.

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