Literature and Culture

Research

Our research group introduces a complex, integrative and interdisciplinary field of literary and cultural studies based on the idea that everybody is subject to the posttraumatic effects of the 20th century, and our lives are influenced by the norms, power relations and stereotypes defined by gender roles. We would like to embed the gender approach in the more general context of trauma research, and at the same time to be open to literary history, literary theory and comparative literary studies, thus connecting this interdisciplinary field with specific projects and efforts of applied social sciences,

The long-term objective of our research is mainly bringing to light the latent skills and competencies of renewal, revealing and integrating the existing but hidden intellectual, psychological, and cultural resources of Hungarian society thus modifying its entrenched defense mechanisms, its suspicious attitude towards and tendency of rejecting otherness. We believe that sensitization can serve as a useful tool in re-traumatization which offers an applicable process for individuals to experience collective traumas personally and emotionally. Our research can subserve the processes of sensitization such as developing sensitivity to texts (e.g. reading between the lines), raising gender awareness, developing communicative competencies, techniques of self-reflection, self-knowledge and the ability to cope with traumas.

Therefore we intend to disseminate the results of our research (analyses, surveys, textual interpretations, mapping certain processes of cultural history) for the widest audience and also to apply the methods of scientific education for the general public in order to influence the above described processes. First of all we would like to reach educators, students and parents in order to help them cooperate in getting rid of bad socail habituations in the sake of changing the thinking of new generations.

The specific projects of our research group of organizing conferences, publishing books and editing an online social network make the results of theoretical basic research be able to be used partly in trauma treatment, partly in popularizing scientific achievements.

From the individual research plans of the members of the group it is evident how the three fields – literature, trauma research, gender studies – intertwine, and how this complex, interdisciplinary approach gives momentum to the discourse on the topic. Both gender studies and trauma theory are disciplines that have a characteristic approach strongly influenced by cultural criticism, therefore – whether they are dealing with the equality between the sexes, reflecting on gender stereotypes, or have something to say about the approach to collective traumas, about violence against women, or the traumas of Holocaust-survivers and the homeless – they are eager to act in order to disseminate their insights. That is the reason why we intend to assign an important role to dissemination of scientific knowledge, which in turn will result in the appreciation of sciences and of a scientific way of thinking.

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