LIT3066 : Identity/ Crisis: Trauma, Narrative, Self

Convener(s): Professor Brendan Stone


General Information

With reference to range of cultural texts, this module will explore the ways in which our identities are bound up with narratives, both those we claim to ‘write’ for ourselves and those which are written for us, or on us. This idea comes into sharp relief in the context of the representation of trauma and distress. We will study the ways in which trauma disturbs the smooth surfaces of life-narratives and often prompts a rethinking of the categories of identity, experience, and history. Some work on trauma suggests that only literary, ‘poetic’ texts can deal adequately with the ‘unspeakability’ of acute crisis and its uncanny irruptions and repetitions. We will scrutinise this notion, engaging with Sarah Kofman’s critical question: “How can one speak of that before which all possibility of speech ceases?


Weekly workshops combining academic input with group discussion. These will include film screenings, and visits from external partners.


Students will be assessed using learning portfolios. These will be in the form of electronic portfolios which incorporate critical reflections on and evidence of the following: workshops, discussions, and lectures; any meetings and other relevant activities; reading; planning; learning encounters; ideas for work. Content in the journals can be presented through a variety of means (film, audio, notes, writing etc). Students will also have the opportunity to develop creative pieces for their portfolio entries.

The learning portfolio will also incorporate a summative report which will incorporate a more nuanced assessment of the project, drawing on and evaluating a wide range of theoretical and critical frameworks appropriate to the exploration of tr auma-narrative-identity.

Contact Details

0114 2228495

Information last changed: Thursday 07th of April 2016 :: 01:16:15 PM (BST)

Please note: This module may or may not run in any individual session. Please check with the course convener.


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK