New Delhi: The Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), organized the twentieth lecture of the Distinguished Lecture Series, ‘Who Speaks from the Site of Trauma? Temporality, Testimony, and Problems of Address in Recent Trauma Discourses’ by Prof. Cathy Caruth, Department of Literatures in English and Department of Comparative Literature, Cornell University, on Friday, April 8 2022, on Zoom. Supported by the Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC), Ministry of Education, Government of India, the talk was organized as part of the ongoing academic collaboration with the Department of English and American Studies, University of Würzburg, Germany, and promises to be one in a line of successively pertinent lectures.
Prof. Simi Malhotra, H.o.D., Department of English, JMI, Indian PI, delivered the welcome address, greeting the invited speaker, faculty, scholars, and students. She spoke about the talk as a part of the ongoing collaborative project “New Terrains of Consciousness: Globalization, Sensory Environments and Local Cultures of Knowledge”, supported by the Ministry of Education’s initiative SPARC, which aims to facilitate academic and research collaboration between higher education institutes in India and abroad. She, then, introduced the esteemed speaker, Prof. Cathy Caruth, who was greeted by a round of applause.
In her lecture, Prof Cathy Caruth engaged with questions and problems of address in recent trauma discourses through video testimonials of medical frontline workers during the COVID pandemic. By thinking about the experience of witnessing trauma from within, Prof Caruth explored the potential failure of address experienced by the frontline workers in the following three ways—difficulty of speaking to family and intimate friends about their experiences, the absence of a listening audience to medical warnings, and the collapse of address in the mediation between dying patients who are isolated inside and their family/friends on the outside.
The lecture also looked at the role and nature of technology in the process of address during the pandemic. This was followed by an engaging, in-depth Q/A session coordinated by Ms. Ann Susan Aleyas, Ph.D. Scholar, Department of English, JMI.
The talk was enthusiastically attended by a large crowd of scholars, students, and faculty from all over the world and across various time-zones.
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