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Trauma studies summer course
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This course is archived
Course date
July 10–15, 2023
Application deadline
The application deadline has passed. We are no longer accepting applications.
ECTS Credits
Course delivery
SUN Packages
Tuition Waiver
Partial Scholarship
Full Scholarship

Course rationale and aims 

Individual and collective traumas are increasingly at the heart of social and political decision-making in different parts of the world. Different forms of trauma shape our perception of social reality, ranging from #MeToo and BlackLivesMatter to the Stolen Generations and the Holocaust, the pandemic, and climate catastrophes. They impact the ways we recognize and remember but also forget and silence past and present injustices. The divergent attitudes towards these traumatic experiences determine both how our societies currently look and how they will look in the future. The comprehensive assessment of different facets of trauma is thus urgent.  

The field of Transdisciplinary Trauma Studies represents the new tendencies in the intersecting areas studying trauma in the 21st century. The necessity to incorporate diverse perspectives on trauma coming from different cultures as well as different academic disciplines prompts the need for re-conceptualizing the field of trauma studies.   

The proposed course is part of a longer curricular/training initiative; the initiative of a new program in Transdisciplinary Trauma Studies. The course thus is mapping the results of a new research field in teaching, providing information on the newest developments of trauma research, and bringing together approaches from across disciplines such as cultural studies, psychology, history, computer science, gender studies, human rights, and beyond.   


We will show students how the element of trauma is present in various areas of social and cultural life, how trauma-informed approaches help understand processes of othering and traumatization, and how they can help in building resilience. We aim to make our students familiar with innovative approaches to studying trauma in different academic fields and provide them with capacities necessary for developing greater empathy: we would like our students to acquire knowledge and also develop an awareness of the complexity of how trauma is interwoven into enduring forms of conflict or oppression, and how the long-term impact of trauma is present in our own time.  

Course structure  

The seminars cover some of the newest topics in trauma studies, including continuous trauma; catastrophe-related trauma and resilience; digital trauma and trauma-related content curation by algorithmic systems; gendered trauma; migration trauma; human rights and trauma; and the comparative study of historical trauma; representations of trauma in the arts, literature, film.  

Course Format & Main Themes 

The course combines lectures with method practicums together with additional collaborative formats (e.g., a reflective walking tour and student presentations).  

The seminars and lectures intersectingly cover 5 main themes discussed during the week:  

  1. Theoretical foundations of transdisciplinary trauma research  
  2. Psychological trauma and psychosocial consequences of traumatization  
  3. (Digital) media and trauma  
  4. Trauma, memory, and representations in literature and film  
  5. Human rights, politics, and trauma

Target group 

The program encourages applications from students (BA, MA, Ph.D.) and postdoctoral researchers in various fields of social sciences and humanities, and also professionals in trauma-related positions in NGOs, and cultural, educational, and policy institutions. To address the diversity of the participants, the course combines introductory classes (e.g. overview of academic perspectives on trauma studies/literary and film representations of trauma) with more advanced and topic-specific classes (e.g. social media and trauma transmission or computer science perspectives on trauma). In this way, students with different levels of familiarity with the field of trauma studies as well as different educational levels will be able to fulfill their learning goals.   


We do not require any systematic previous knowledge of trauma or trauma or trauma studies; however, we require a detailed letter of motivation and a proposed trauma-related topic, together with a page-long explanation, that the student will present during the student-presentation sections.   

Language requirements  

The language of instruction is English; thus all applicants have to demonstrate a strong command of spoken and written English to be able to participate actively in discussions at seminars and workshops. 

This course will focus on the following discipline areas:

  • Trauma Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Psychology
  • History, Digital Media Studies
  • Human Rights
  • Public Policy
  • Memory Studies

"The transdisciplinary and analytical character of the course was very stimulative."

"I met groundbreaking researchers and practitioners all around the world. It helped me enlarge my network in a very sincere and easy way. I made great friendships with my peers and started devising future research projects with the faculty and peers I met." 

"The course helped me to realize how I can combine different disciplinary perspectives on trauma at the same time, signifying their advantages and disadvantages. Also, it helped me tremendously to be around like-minded individuals and researchers who had similar goals and sensitivities. It helped me to figure out the conceptual difficulties I was having."

"My view on the meanings of trauma greatly diversified and I could leave behind certain thinking patterns I was captivated by earlier. The transdisciplinary approach further allowed me to grasp some aspects of other disciplines that I was not familiar with before. The student presentation nicely reflected upon the multitude of ways the participants could use trauma studies. "

Please read the following directions carefully.  
Below is the list of the documents you need to prepare or arrange for submission: 

  1. Completed online SUN Application Form (see notes below) 
  2. Full curriculum vitae or resume, including a list of publications, if any 
    Please upload your Curriculum Vitae or resume, including a list of publications, if any. 
  3. Statement of purpose (max. 1 page)  
    In the Statement of Purpose, please describe your interest in trauma studies; how the course is relevant to your studies, research, teaching, project plans, or professional work, and in what way you expect to benefit from it. Please list relevant courses in the field, or in related fields, which you have taken previously during your studies. 
    Please provide the name, contact email, and phone number of a person (a faculty member, job supervisor, etc.) who can be contacted by the course directors to attest to your abilities, qualifications, and academic/professional performance. 
  4. Personal Statement on Financial Aid 
    Those who are eligible and wish to apply for financial aid should specify their reasons in the “Personal statement on financial aid” section (Funding page of the application form). 

Optional attachments: 

You can upload further optional documents on the Qualifications page such as academic documents that you think may be relevant to support your application in the 'Other Supporting Documents' section. All documents should be merged into a single PDF file not exceeding the size 2 MB. No passwords and encryption are allowed. 

Completed CEU Summer University Application Form

We strongly advise the use of Google Chrome to enable the full functionality of the form.


  • You may apply to a maximum of two summer courses. In case of being admitted, you can only attend both if the two courses do not overlap in time.
  • If you applied to CEU before, please use your existing login and password to start a new application. If you do not remember your password from last year click on Forgotten Password. With technical problems, bugs, or errors related to the online application forms please contact the CEU IT Help Desk.
  • Right after login, please select the ”Summer University” radio button from the "Type of course" list, and leave all other fields empty.
  • All application materials must be submitted with the online application form(s). Materials sent by postal mail, electronic mail, or fax are not considered.
  • The maximum allowable file size for upload is 2MB per file and the acceptable file formats are PDF, JPG, and JPEG. Ensure all security features (e.g. passwords and encryption) are removed from the documents before uploading them.
  • Applications cannot be edited after submission. Please submit your application only when it is 100% final and complete.
  • Further user instructions for the online application are included in the form itself. Should you have questions regarding the application form, check the relevant Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


If you need help or more information during the application process, please feel free to contact the SUN staff via email.


The SUN Office will notify applicants about the selection results in April. Please check the 'Dates and deadlines' section on the relevant course websites for notification deadlines planned earlier or later. The final decision is not open to appeal.