What do we mean by trauma?
How do we define a traumatic event?
Why do people respond in different ways to sexual violence, assaults, unexpected shocks, or being exposed to life-threatening conditions over a prolonged period of time?
How have medical responses to traumatic events – railway spine, shell-shock, rape trauma syndrome, PTSD – been conceptualised by the different agencies of society over the past two centuries?
These are some of the questions we are exploring through the Birkbeck Trauma Project. Based in the Department of History, Classics & Archaeology, we study narratives left by trauma sufferers and perpetrators to deepen our understanding of the contexts in which traumatic events have been constructed and interpreted over time.
Understanding why and how harm was done in the past gives us invaluable insights into some of the most pressing issues of today.
Download a pdf to read more about Birkbeck’s work on the History of Violence