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ERIC Number: EJ1237318
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1081-4760
The Impossibility of Witnessing and the Imperative to Listen: Teaching Trauma in an Interdisciplinary Classroom
Schulz, Jennifer
Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies, v36 n1 p126-152 2018
This article will describe how I have integrated my work as a psychotherapist specializing in trauma and as a literature professor in an interdisciplinary course on Trauma Narrative in which I explore with my students how literary texts (novels, poetry, and plays) and clinical discourses (e.g. the "Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," psychological theories, and research studies) can inform and challenge each other as we seek to understand the lived experience and meaning of trauma. Current interdisciplinary theories of trauma that revise the doctor/patient relationship into witness/testifier implicate us in this class as witnesses of trauma testimony. Indeed, these literary, clinical, and theoretical works force us to ask the very fundamental questions: What assumptions do I bring to a literary text/individual that mediate my response to either? How does this text/individual interrupt these assumptions and challenge me to new ways of listening? How does this text/individual change me? Following a description of the course, I will discuss how we can foster meaningful integrative research projects with our students as we ask them to encounter the limits of their own understanding of the suffering of others, or, at times, their own jarring identification with this suffering. How can teaching toward interdisciplinary integration call us to witness our students as they discover the ways in which their reading, writing, and research call them to witness "themselves" anew? And what are the unique challenges of engaging in this work when the focus is trauma?
Association for Interdisciplinary Studies. Oakland University, Macomb County, 44575 Garfield Road Building UC2 Suite 103, Clinton Township, MI 48038. Tel: 586-263-6098; Fax: 586-263-6261; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington (Seattle)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A