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The Afterlives of Political Imprisonment in the MENA

State Force, Prison and Torture



"Trauma in Zeiten globaler Selbstoptimierung"

New Special Issue:
Critical Trauma Discourse in Germany,
on Humanitarian and Development Aid and Beyond:

"Trauma in Zeiten globaler Selbstoptimierung"

in: "Widersprüche", Heft 152/Juni 2019 / ISBN 3-89691-024-0


Trauma ist Trauma ist Trauma

Podiumsdiskussion /// JerusalemerGesprächeBonn

Trauma ist Trauma ist Trauma. Krieg macht ein Land zum Krüppel.
Zur Ausstellung „Von Mossul nach Palmyra. Eine virtuelle Reise durch das Weltkulturerbe”.

Die Diskussionsreihe in der Bundeskunsthalle widmet sich dem Austausch zu aktuellen gesellschafts- und kulturpolitischen Themen weltweit. In der neunten Folge diskutiert die Moderatorin Sabine Christiansen mit ihren Gästen über Traumatisierungen von Menschen und ganzen Gesellschaften, die in Kriegs- und Konfliktregionen leben oder von dort flüchten mussten.

Mittwoch, 23. Oktober 2019 - 19 Uhr - Bundeskunsthalle Bonn


Beyond Trauma? A Transregional Perspective on Trauma and Aesthetics

Symposium 13. - 15.  June 2019 in Berlin

More Information and register here


"Trauma: Social Realities and Cultural Texts"

Special Issue "Trauma: Social Realities and Cultural Texts"
Middle East - Topcis and Arguments (Meta)
Vol. 11/2018

Edited by Stephan Milich & Lamia Moghniyeh
and with contributions by Brahim El Guabli, Vivienne Matthies-Boon,
Sahar Elmougy, Saadi Nikro, Nora Parr and many others


On Political Violence: Transgenerational Trauma and forced migration in Arab and German Societies from an Interdisciplinary Perspective


The unexpected outbreak of protests, uprisings and revolutions in 2011 ("Arab Spring") with their call for freedom, dignity and social justice in a number of Arab countries has produced radical social and political changes that were often accompanied by extremely violent events and situations. After high hopes for democratic change and a more just society, especially among Arab youth, these expectations have been - in various forms and degrees - dramatically shattered by the subsequent reemergence of authoritarianism, the outbreak of (proxy) civil wars, violent social conflicts, and other forms of an ongoing social, economic and political crisis. In the case of Syria and Iraq, but also in the case of Yemen and Libya, this has caused a refugee crisis of extreme dimensions probably never experienced before in the Arab region. Being among the countries that welcomed large numbers of refugees from neighboring countries, Jordan is still struggling with the challenge to organize the life of hundreds of thousands human beings fleeing their home country, while the reception of refugees by Germany has led to problematic reactions and conflictual discussions in politics and society. In Germany, this has not only made visible xenophobic tendencies, but also a general deficiency in a number of policy areas like e.g. housing. The social relevance of trauma in Germany can mainly be found in the attempt to deal with an extremely violent past produced by two world wars (1914-18 and 1939-45) as well as dictatorship and political oppression in East Germany (1949-1990). The dynamics of transgenerational trauma have become - both in psychotherapy and cultural production - increasingly relevant since the Eighties and Nineties. In addition to the belated confrontation with transgenerational forms of trauma in Germany, discourses on trauma are also fostered by the mediatized perception of terror. While some societies like the US, Germany or Argentine might overemphasize the notion of trauma in societal discourse, producing what has been called a "trauma culture" (A. Kaplan), other societies only recently adopted a perspective on the effects of forms of political violence that is framed by trauma.


Project Website


Partner Universities:

Department of Sociology and Social Service, Yarmouk University

Dr. Ayat Nashwan



Department of Oriental Studies, University of Cologne

Dr. Stephan Milich



The project is funded by the DAAD within the program line German-Arab short-term measures with partner universities in Tunisia, Yemen, Morocco, Libya, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.


Questions of trauma, wellbeing and emotions in the Middle East.

CFP: Shattered Lives, Shattered Worlds, Shattered Space?

As part of the BRISMES Critical Middle East Section, we are hereby calling for the submission of abstracts for interdisciplinary panels on the themes of trauma, wellbeing, emotions and space in the MENA region, to be held at the Annual BRISMES conference at Kings College London from 25-28 June, 2018. We particularly welcome abstracts by academics and practitioners alike.

People, groups, societies within the Middle East have suffered from systematic violence and conflict, including severe authoritarian repression, social discord and alienation, colonization, civil wars, displacement and violent imperialist interventions. In this panel we are interested in addressing the psychological, societal, cultural, religious and political impacts of - and modes of resilience to – such violence. While intersections between violence, space and collective action have proven popular within political science in recent years, little attention has been paid to the relation between space, violence and (threats to) emotional and physical wellbeing. We are thus seeking to bring together scholars from a range of different disciplines – including anthropology, literary studies, political science, sociology, and psychology – to shed light on the (re)configurations of space and its intersection with trauma, violence, emotions and wellbeing.

We are hence calling for papers that specifically address these topics either theoretically or through a range of specific case studies. Questions we are interested in include (but are not limited to):

· How should we understand the role and importance of social, political, religious and cultural space(s) within traumatic experiences? How do they impact traumatic expressions and our conceptual understanding?
· What are the existential impacts of social and political violence? How are these expressed within specific spaces or locations? And what are the individual, social and political consequences of these expressions?
· Does trauma alter the meaning and experiences of time and belonging within the MENA region? And how do intergenerational, social and cultural traumatic configurations affect the present existential, social and political reality?
· How are social, political and personal spaces adapted and altered within modes of emotional and traumatic resilience and collective action? And how does (individual, social and political) space feature in traumatic memories?
· What are the individual, intergenerational, social and political effects of displacement and colonization? How do they relate to emotional wellbeing and traumatic recovery? What are the impacts of displacement and mobility on (mental) health provisions?
· How are traumatic spaces embodied within social and political contexts, as well as (academic or literary) writings?

We hence welcome the submission of abstracts around these topics. Abstracts with your name and your institutional affiliation (if any) should be sent to: Dr Vivienne Matthies-Boon (e.a.v.boonSpamProtectionuva.nl) and Dr Una McGahern (una.mcgahernSpamProtectionnewcastle.ac.uk) by 12:00noon (CEST timezone) Wednesday 29 November 2017. Please note that we will not be able to provide travel grants, subsistence or conference fee reduction.


Interdisciplinary Conference: “Between Politics and Healing: Understanding Trauma in Conflicts and Recent Violent Transformation Processes from a Comparative Perspective”, 20 - 21 November 2014, University of Cologne

20 - 21 November 2014, University of Cologne

The conference aims to explore and discuss critically representations, narratives, images and meanings of traumatic situations and events in Middle Eastern countries as well as North and South Africa. It is organized by the Institute of Oriental Studies and funded by Competence Area IV - Cultures and Societies in Transition/Global South Studies Center (University of Cologne).


Updated Program

Summaries of the Papers and Discussion

Fachgespräch: Gewalt, Flucht, Trauma 22.01.2016

Workshop: Interdisciplinary Trauma Research with Refugees from Syria, Palestine and Lebanon 28.01.2016

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