Th 2p-4p
291 Barrows
Course Description: 

We live in a world of loss.  Large scale displacement by war, famine, insurgencies, natural catastrophes, environmental change, financial crises, trans-national migration, economic instability and changes in the where and how things are produced and consumed are universal characteristics of what it means to live in the world today.  The “self” itself has become an artifact of technology: while it is often argued that technological innovation has brought people together, it also permits us to craft multiple, imaginary selves that can be created and deployed through the internet.  Because individual or collective trauma-- and its memory, whether experienced of received—can be understood only through reflecting on the “self”, the fluidity of performance has important implications for how we process psychological wounds. Needless to say, these same technologies can also be used to interpret, control and process experience.  Moreover, the “science of the mind” itself has been influenced by historical context: it has a circuitous history related to 19th Century experiences of modernity.

Instability in human experience have startling material and political consequences, which have received much scholarly attention.  However, the psycho-social and psychological impact of these changes rarely enter the social scientific repertoire.  Political Psychology, as a field, is dominated by quantitative methods which bypass large swaths of the human experience of radical instability and rupture. 

This seminar explores the sources and consequences of trauma.  It begins with a review of the intellectual history of psycho-analytic thought starting with Sigmund Freud and Pierre Janet and then moves to the current body of literature known as “trauma studies.”  We then move to the vexed issue of collective trauma.  Mourning, melancholia, and nostalgia are related conditions that will also receive our attention.  After exploring the evolution of theory, we will focus on case studies of collective traumatic experience.  

This is a demanding seminar, not intended for upper division students who simply wish to complete requirements, but for those who seek an intense engagement, an engagement that will probably be personally relevant to the members of the seminar.  The seminar is open to students of all disciplines, although Political Science students will have priority.

Junior Seminars are intense writing seminars which focus on the research area of the faculty member teaching the course. The seminars provide an opportunity for students to have direct intellectual interactions with faculty members while also giving the students an understanding for faculty research. Junior seminars fulfill upper division requirements for the major.

Course Instructor: Dr. Paul Martorelli


Three 10 page papers on a topic of your choice that must be discussed with me prior to embarking on your essays.  Completing the reading prior to seminar and taking notes.  Leading seminar either with another member of the group, or alone, once in the term.  Coming to seminar with at least one question directly related to the reading or topics covered therein.  Attendance.  Participation.  


Students will be able to directly enroll in this junior seminar in Phase 1 as long as they are declared Political Science majors in their junior or senior year (based on year, NOT units) and haven't taken a junior seminar before.  NOTE:  IF you have taken a junior seminar before, you must wait until Phase 2 to enroll; otherwise, you will be eventually dropped from the seminar.   

Group visibility: 
Public - accessible to all site users