On Knowing and Not Knowing Trauma in Ancient Greek
Friday, November 12, 2021 - 9:30am to 11:00am
Smith Warehouse, Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall, Bay 4, C105
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Trauma is a Greek word, but how we talk about trauma today is not how the ancient Greeks understood it. Ancient Greek writers used the word trauma to refer to physical wounds, not psychological ones. Yet they also used a diverse array of terms to describe emotional pain for which there are no precise equivalents in English. Hopping from Greek tragedy to ancient Greek medical writing to historiography, this talk asks if the ancient Greeks had a concept of psychological trauma and examines how that concept might intersect with our own.
Erika L. Weiberg is Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Classical Studies and Theater Studies at Duke University. She is currently completing a book manuscript for Oxford University Press on women’s trauma in Greek homecoming plays, titled Seeing Women’s Wounds: Trauma and Homecoming in Greek Tragedy. They have also published numerous articles and chapters on Greek tragedy, Ovid, and Anne Carson.
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