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The workshop will bring together scholars who have been concerned in recent years with the specific subject of trauma in the context of mass atrocity and extreme forms of violence. There will be two professors coming from Law Departments in Colombia, Prof. Isabel Jaramillo and Prof. Esteban Restrepo from the Universidad de los Andes, in Bogotá, who will address the philosophical challenges of a just and adequate legal representation of trauma resulting from mass atrocity in the context of Colombian violent conflict. Cathy Caruth, a renowned international expert on trauma studies from the University of Cornell, will be working on the relationship between trauma and representation in literary studies inspired by study cases of both street violence in the United States and victims’ recovery cases in Colombia. Elizabeth Rottenberg and Michael Naas, both professors in the Philosophy Department at DePaul, will be proposing a philosophical elucidation of the problematic challenge that trauma represents for our understanding of language and memory. And prof. Lissa Skitolsky, from Susquehana University, will be sharing with us her personal experience as a philosophy teacher in a maximum security prison in Pennsylvania, oriented by a philosophical reflection on trauma, victimhood, and the way in which, in her opinion, the jail system in the United States reproduces what Holocaust studies have coined as the phenomenon of “social death.” Graduate students in the Philosophy Department, as well as other Faculty members of LAS and undergraduate students interested in the subject will all be able to participate in the discussions during the two days of presentations and engage directly with each one of the speakers.
The play "Maximum Security" from ID Theater Company (based on New York), was written by a Colombian writer (Piedad Bonnett)and directed by Nelson Celis, the background of the play is the Colombian conflict between guerrillas, paramilitary and army. The play is directly concerned with some of the explicit subjects of the workshop on Trauma and Memory: the conditions of confinement in prisons and the traumatic experiences related to extreme forms of violence. The play stages two actors, an ex-paramilitary and a street delinquent. Through their dialogues and actions onstage one learns not only about their respective traumatic pasts, and their very difficult present in jail, but also of the atrocious forms of violence that are linked to a conflict tied to issues of radical social injustice. At the end of the play we'll have a roundtable with the Director of the Company, Germán Jaramillo, the two actors, Wilmar Saldarriaga and Victor Hugo Grajales, and Michael Naas from the Philosophy Department.