To remember or to forget?
Trauma can be described as a paradoxical phenomenon: A recollection that makes itself heard as something that wants to be forgotten. A memory, a constant reminder of something that should have sunk into oblivion, but pushes itself to the fore.
Trauma could connect the individual with a collective. It can, for instance, be a connection with a nation’s history. Trauma merges collective and individual histories to build a single, multi-layered entity of entangled recollections, narratives, experiences, hallucinations, emotions and desires. At present, many societies are seriously affected by memories of war and violence, by the painful recollections that are passed on and kept alive for various reasons, often for many generations. Therefore, the questions arise – is it better to remember or rather better to forget? How to deal with the antagonism between the desire for reconciliation and the necessity of delivering justice? Does reconciliation mean forgiving and forgetting? What kind of process is reconciliation if it is supposed to instigate a process of healing and not to prolong the injustice inflicted upon the victim in the first place?
These are questions not only of psychological, but also of eminent political relevance since collective trauma affects many societies in our times.
With a series of presentations and lectures, experts from different fields – psychology, psychoanalysis, sociology, medicine – will provide information about current research on the topic and will present case studies from across the world, ranging from the violence between ethnic groups following the breakup of former Yugoslavia to the Arab-Jew conflict in Israel, from India’s communal violence to the problematic and painful healing process in South Africa to be able to understand how different societies have sought to deal with the problem of justice and/ or reconciliation.
Initiated by Farah Batool
and Leonhard Emmerling
of Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi
, the conference is curated by Prof. Sudhir Kakar
To register for the conference, please write to: Shweta.Wahi@goethe.de