Social Performances of Cultural Trauma and the Rebuilding of Solid Sovereignties (SPECTRESS)

The SPECTRESS program is a four year collaborative project between five European universities and four non-European universities, initiated by Trinity College Dublin in cooperation with Yale University and the KWI Essen and funded by Marie Curie Actions – International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES). The Ruhr University of Bochum is the German partner. The coordinator is Stefan Berger, Dept of History. The primary mode of interaction between the participating institutions will be through individual fellowships (“secondments”) of three or six months in duration, available to both Experienced Researchers and Early Stage Researchers (usually a PhD student; an ESR is defined as a researcher with less than four years of research experience. Research experience is defined by activities beginning after the completion of the Master´s degree).
SPECTRESS will finance the secondments (flights and accommodation costs) according to a fixed lump sum. Secondments will be available starting in June 2014 and running through December 2017, with the following locations still available to RUB-based and employed researchers:

  • Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
  • University of Sao Paolo

Objective and relevance of the joint exchange program

The objective of this project is to build upon, solidify, formalize and condense the recently initiated relationships between nine leading research institutions representing different regions and historical traditions in order to conduct joint research and participate in knowledge exchange to identify new paradigms for understanding how national identities are disrupted and formed by the traumas of history. By moving this consortium from an informal, ad hoc set of alliances to a structured program of exchanges, the SPECTRESS program will generate new research results and new methodologies across the disciplinary spectrum. A rich transfer of knowledge between institutions, research groups and culturally inscribed traditions of scholarship, generating the basis for long term, sustainable cooperation between the partners, is the main objective of the program. The sociological concept of cultural trauma lies at the heart of the processes SPECTRESS seeks to describe and contextualize. Participants in the exchange program are expected to conduct either a concrete short-term or part of a long-term research project related to the concept of cultural trauma during their secondment periods.
Cultural trauma can leave both positive and negative legacies for the (national, ethnic, religious etc.) communities that experience, create and perform it, sometimes resulting in paralysis and division, but other times resulting in a sense of shared purpose. This wide variety of outcomes and stages of assimilating trauma also calls for a focus on the post-traumatic adaptations and societal or political processes of overcoming trauma: systems that have managed to come to terms with a serious and recognized traumatic interruption in their country or community in the twentieth century, which have created a stable new national script out of traumatic experiences.

If you are interested in taking part in the SPECTRESS exchange program, and intend to engage with the generic themes of the proposal, please contact
Pia Eiringhaus for further information.