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ERIC Number: EJ1162597
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1358-684X
Reflecting on Functioning in Trigger Happy America
Wolfsdorf, Adam
Changing English: Studies in Culture and Education, v24 n3 p299-317 2017
Trigger warnings are posing serious threats to the ways that English educators can teach at the university level. If Aristotle--and Hillis-Miller years later--argue that literature must arouse and bring about catharsis, then proponents of trigger warnings are anaesthetising the power of words and watering down their ability to incite emotional responses and promote healing. By examining the relationship between proponents of the trigger warning and reflective functioning--a psychoanalytic concept that emerged out of the British psychoanalytic school--this article argues that English students and English educators who support the use of trigger warnings may suffer from poor reflective functioning. Individuals with poor reflective functioning have difficulty coping with their emotions as well as practising mentalisation during times of acute stress, which can be triggered in response to arousing interactions with texts. Finally, the article offers some suggestions for how English educators might use empathy, intentional self-disclosure and vulnerability as a means for enhancing reflective functioning in students and encouraging them to journey more freely and courageously into controversial, charged, and dramatic literary moments.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A