Founded in 2007, the Centre for Literature and Trauma (LITRA) at Ghent University brings together scholars from various departments in the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy whose research revolves around traumatic memory and its representation in literary texts.

Thomas Hirschhorn, OutgrowthA cursory glance through the trend-setting literary studies journals of recent years suffices to establish that the relationship between literature and trauma is among the hottest research topics in the field today. LITRA sets out to examine the possibilities and limits of the concept of trauma as a tool for literary analysis by focusing on the following thematic areas:

  • the Holocaust in Jewish American literature
  • literary representations of apocalypse
  • transcultural witnessing
  • post-socialist memory culture
  • discursive responses to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • the representation of 9/11 in contemporary American culture
  • memory, trauma, and performance
  • memories of war
  • literary depictions of hell
  • trauma, melancholia, and loss

The purpose of LITRA, which is led by Prof. Dr. Stef Craps of the Department of Literary Studies, is to promote interaction and exchange among its members; to increase the visibility of our research; to foster and facilitate research and teaching collaborations; and to establish relations with other (groups of) researchers in the fields of literary studies, trauma studies, and memory studies, both nationally and internationally. LITRA is a founding member of Mnemonics: Network for Memory Studies, an international collaborative initiative for graduate education in memory studies.

LITRA organizes various kinds of activities, including conferences, panels, reading groups, workshops, seminars, and a lecture series featuring prominent outside speakers. To keep abreast of events, you can join our mailing list.

Human beings are human insofar as they bear witness to the inhuman.
Giorgio Agamben, Remnants of Auschwitz