The University of Iowa

Symposium to examine cultural factors that shape memory and trauma

April 14th, 2016

The African Studies Program and Caribbean, Diaspora, and Atlantic Studies Program will co-sponsor an upcoming forum entitled, “Crossing Borders Symposium: Rethinking Memory and Trauma: New Directions in Cultural and Visual Studies.” This event is free and open to the public. The symposium begins at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, April 22, and continues through 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, in 315 Phillips Hall.

Engaging with specific case studies from the Caribbean, South and North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Europe, graduate students and keynote speakers will examine the culturally contingent factors that shape the experience of memory and trauma. Their presentations will discuss a wide variety of artistic expressions ranging from documentary and feature films, murals, fictional narratives and testimonials, to photography and memorial sites.

The symposium will seek to interrogate across multiple disciplines the psychological implications of slavery and colonization, the impact of pesticides on the environment and human bodies, indigenous pasts in public spaces or the reenactment of trauma in translation. Similarly, the symposium will discuss popular trauma culture in mass media, the ethics of spectatorship, the mediation of memory in museums, and the role of visual arts and performances in representing social and postcolonial predicaments, as well as modern mass atrocities and genocides beyond the Holocaust.

Click here for a full schedule of symposium events and speakers. 

Keynote speakers will include Vanessa Agard-Jones, assistant professor of anthropology and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Yale University; Alexandre Dauge-Roth, associate professor of French and francophone studies at Bates College; and J. Roger Kurtz, professor of postcolonial literatures in the Department of English and chair of the Department of African and African American Studies at The College at Brockport (State University of New York).

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Sarolta Petersen in advance at