Developing a Structural Analysis of the History of Trauma Studies 
How have ideas in trauma studies circulated between clinical practice and theory across a range of disciplines? Readings will focus on particular moments in the emergence of trauma studies as we think historically about how these knowledges were produced; then we will move to more contemporary clinical theory having gained new historical categories. 
We will give special consideration to the particularly entwined histories of the production of trauma theory across literary Holocaust studies, feminist theory (both clinical and philosophical) and Native American and Indigenous Studies. As we gain these historical insights, we will turn to close reading short passages from contemporary clinical trauma studies to examine the extent to which these theories account for structural conditions of harm (i.e. relations of power and inequalities like colonialism, militarism, white supremacy, and heteropatriarchy).
We will press into questions like:
  • What can we develop together in our understanding of trauma as we put different traditions, methods, and ways of knowing alongside one another?
  • What is the key critique Native American and Indigenous Studies has made of how western mental health disavows settler colonialism and Indigenous sovereignty? What is at stake in such a disavowal for the field of mental health?
  • Why is trauma studies a particularly vexed and complex field, even as it is generative and offering significant clinical insights?
  • How can historical precision help us think through our clinical categories of how we apply trauma theory, as well as the relations of power in the applications?
  • Why is the turn from language to the body in trauma studies (i.e. somatics), and in particular as practiced by activists of color in social movement work, an intervention not only in clinical practice but also in social theory?