Call for Papers: "Memory and Trauma: Philosophical Perspectives"


Monographic Section: "Memory and Trauma: Philosophical Perspectives"

Guest editors:
Nathália de Ávila (University of Cologne, Germany)
Marina Trakas (Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, CONICET, Argentina)
Em Walsh (Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University, US)

Deadline: July 31, 2023.

For more information please write to:
Nathália de Ávila:
Marina Trakas:

Traumatic experiences are widespread in today's world, as war affects several countries, as gender violence continues, and the global mental health crisis sharpens after the pandemic. In fact, trauma is originally an Ancient Greek concept that refers to an open physical wound, while psychological trauma is an idea introduced in the late 19th century. While some claim trauma to be a culturally-coerced phenomenon, others believe that our ancestors were not that different from us when it comes to psychological suffering, giving trauma a more universal aspect.

Nowadays, the notions of trauma, traumatic experiences and traumatic events are actually used in very heterogeneous ways. Traumatic experiences are a polysemy, sometimes involving a diagnosis (one of PTSD), sometimes involving particular ways of being (feeling stuck in time), sometimes involving the unliveability of a particular social life, and capturing much more.

While conceptual difficulties persist, it is evident that traumatic experiences have the potential to disturb one’s memory, because of their negative emotional charge, for example, and the feeling that one's memory is no longer under one’s control. Nonetheless, philosophers of memory have, to date, largely neglected connections between trauma and memory, failing to see what effects traumatic experiences have on one’s ability to remember the past and envision a future for oneself. Besides the question about the concept of trauma itself, there are many other questions that still remain unanswered: In what ways do traumatic experiences shape memory and the self? Is this shaping always for the worse, or can it be for the better? Does trauma involve a transformative experience? How are traumatic memories embodied by individuals who undergo those experiences? What is the relationship between forgiveness, memory, and trauma? And between traumatic memories and perspective-taking? Does trauma produce epistemic harms?

We invite researchers from different continents to attempt to answer these difficult but important questions, as well as other similar philosophical questions regarding memory and trauma.

More information