Trauma’s Spatial Turn: Contending with Violence through(out) Research

Canadian Association of Geographers Annual General Meeting & Conference June 7-11, 2021

Abstract – Panel Presentation

Trauma is, unfortunately, a near-ubiquitous human experience. Despite the everyday, embodied, and relational importance of trauma-informed approaches, until recently Geography has been reluctant to undertake the exploration of emotions vital to contending with trauma(s) and its aftereffects. This panel argues for the necessity of reflexivity and community within research on the geographic dimensions of trauma and discusses the obstacles to emotional well-being at an individual and intuitional level. Specifically, Harshita explores the presumed power hierarchy between researcher and researched and what it means to consider the researcher as an embodied presence in her qualitative examination of the transnational experiences of marriage for migrant women from India to Canada. Yasir considers the emotional labour required in undertaking analysis of the gendered and Islamophobic political propaganda in Hindu nationalism. Silvia examines the spatialized social relations in Costa Rican agrarian policy that divides land for agriculture and housingshaping an ongoing patrimonial violence. Noreen complicates the concepts of vicarious trauma and emotional contagion through survivor-informed understandings of sexual abuse and dissociation. Beginning with focused presentations, followed-by a lengthier discussion, this panel imagines what happens once we remove the ‘us’ and ‘them’ in research. Perhaps we can talk more honestly about how prevalent trauma is in the human experience, how it shapes our behavior and our institutions, and what this means for geographical research.

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