Symposium: Trauma in the Contemporary World: Working-through Collective Wounds, 30 October 2018

Our research fellow Raluca is organising a symposium at Birkbeck at the end of the month, and our PI Lisa will be contributing.

The symposium is being held at the Department of Psychosocial Studies and and will take place on 30 October, 2018, 10am to 5pm.

Room 101, 30 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DT

The symposium aims to create a space for an interdisciplinary conversation on the psychic transmission of trauma, on collective trauma and social mourning. While some voices argue that the notion of ‘trauma’ is overused and overstretched, we will explore the ways in which crucial aspects of both psychic life and social life can be formulated precisely as a trauma theory. What kind of metapsychological revisions are needed for a trauma theory for the contemporary world? What is the place of psychic splitting in making sense of social trauma? Or, in other words, what is the connection between the life of psychic fragments and the life of social fragments? How can we understand scenes of reliving the trauma, which take place in the streets and in the squares? How are institutions (including the state) implicated in social mourning, or, on the contrary, in its interruption? By asking these questions, we aim to illuminate the ways in which a revised trauma theory that takes into account the collective dimension of life is also a social theory.

The second part of the symposium will be dedicated to a discussion of Raluca Soreanu’s recent book Working-through Collective Wounds: Trauma, Denial, Recognition in the Brazilian Uprising (Palgrave, 2018). Soreanu argues for a phenomenology of psychic splitting, where we can follow, in a collective frame, what different psychic fragments ‘do’, or what becomes of their social life. Some psychic fragments are involved in the denial and the repetition of traumatic violence. Other psychic fragments are involved in the act of recognition or in a form of radical mutuality. A panel of psychoanalysts, psychosocial scholars and social theorists will discuss the implications of the ideas that Working-through Collective Wounds proposes, including notions such as: the confusion of tongues between registers of the social, memory-wounds, Orphic socialities, and traumatic voracity. Ultimately, the book brings into focus a creative and symbolising crowd, able to mourn and to preserve itself and things that matter in moments when extreme traumatic violence rips through the social body.

For more details, contact Raluca r.soreanuATbbk.ac.uk

Grey Time: Waiting for Beckett, 22-23 May 2018, University of Oslo

Our Exeter PI, Laura will be giving a paper on waiting and ‘grey time’ in Beckett at the Grey on Grey Conference at the University of Oslo, 22-23 May 2018.

Abstract:

There is a well-known story that when Beckett got to see the colour footage of his television play Quad played back on a black and white monitor he insisted it was ‘marvellous, […] 100,000 years later’. Beckett went on to record a monochrome, slowed down version of the play, Quadrat II, to sit alongside alongside the surprisingly colourful, rhythmic jerks and swerves of Quadrat I; together these snapshots of life represent an asymptotic stretching of time, a shuffling on and off towards a final still state. This seems like a typical move from the Beckett who insisted on policing the greyscale of his drama. ‘Too much colour’, he told the actor Billie Whitelaw, over and over, as she rehearsed Footfalls. Grey, or ‘Light black. From pole to pole’, is of course everywhere in Beckett’s later work, but although there has been some significant research on Beckett’s relationship to and with colour, the grey so firmly associated with Beckett’s aesthetic – from the tableaux of the plays to his iconic personal
image — has less frequently been linked to the author’s particular interest in the temporality of waiting. This paper sets out to determine what might be meant by ‘grey time’ in Beckett’s work. It traces out a time that is resolutely not a twilight or the famous l’heure bleue stretch of gloaming between night and day; it is rather, I argue, a historically specific, postwar articulation of temporality in which waiting is denuded of its ‘for’ – its purpose, its project, its
‘colour’. By showing how and why certain aspects of grey time speak clearly to Beckett’s ashen historical period, I also want to suggest which parts of Beckett’s temporality remain, lingering and enduring within our current waiting times.

For full details on the conference, including a list of speakers and their abstracts, visit Gray on Gray at the UiO: Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and and Ideas webpage.

The Social Life of Time, 5-7th June, Edinburgh

In collaboration with the Temporal Belongings network, we’ll be holding our inaugural conference in Edinburgh, on 5th-7th June 2018.

The aim of this conference is to share current research on the social nature of time and to collaboratively reflect on key issues, problems and methodological approaches. In keeping with previous Temporal Belongings events, we will include a mixture of presentation styles, and plenty of time for discussion. We are particularly interested in playing with the traditional time of the academic conference and will include collaborative, participant-driven sessions where themes emerging from the presentations can be synthesised and explored in greater depth.  

Keynote speakers for the conference are:

Please send any queries to temporalbelongings@gmail.com

Michelle Bastian
Lisa Baraitser
Andrew Hom
Laura Salisbury
Conference Committee

For programme details and to book, please visit the conference website.