International Network for Interdisciplinary Research about the Impact of Traumatic Experience on the Life of Individuals and Society

(Last modified February 2008)

The International Study Group for Trauma, Violence, and Genocide was established in 1995 at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research as a clearinghouse for information from the growing body of international research on these issues. The Study Group was headed by a steering committee whose members were David Becker, Cornelia Berens, Mihran Dabag, Ilany Kogan, Dori Laub, Eric Markusen, Kristin Platt, Jan Philipp Reemtsma, Sibylle Rothkegel, and Christian Schneider.

Two main areas of work soon emerged, reflecting both the status of research during this period and the interests of Study Group members. The first area included the Holocaust and its impacts, especially the situation of victims and perpetrators; victim-perpetrator analogies in coming to terms with this chapter of history; and effects on the second and third generations. Issues associated with torture, exile, immigration, and policies on political asylum in Germany and other countries became the second focus of the Study Group’s work.

Promoting a common dialogue between representatives of diverse disciplines working in these areas was the main goal of the International Study Group for Trauma, Violence, and Genocide; to this end, the Study Group in 1998 created a larger forum, the International Network for Interdisciplinary Research about the Impact of Traumatic Experience on the Life of Individuals and Society. The coordinating office of this Trauma Research Net (TRN), as it was also called, was based at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research. Here the coordinator created, expanded, and maintained a database and an archive with source materials on trauma and related issues and processed and responded to requests for information and contacts sent to the network by researchers from a wide range of disciplines.

The network organized three international conferences in 1998, 2002, and 2006; further information is available in the Conferences section of this website.

Trauma was the focus of two issues of the Institute’s journal "Mittelweg 36" (issues 2 and 3, 1996); the articles were complemented by an extensive bibliography on traumatization, with titles published from 1988 to 1996.

Beginning in 1998, the network’s coordinating office produced and circulated a newsletter at irregular sporadic intervals. From 2001 on, a Newsticker (at first monthly and later quarterly) was also made available to registered users as a platform for exchanging information. The Newsticker included as regular sections Conferences/Calls for Papers, Calls for Contributions, Lectures and Seminars, Vacancies and Bursaries-Grants-Scholarships, New Websites, Useful Links, Publications from Trauma Research Net Members. Besides promoting contact among the network’s active members and other interested persons in areas of work outside the thematic focus of a specific issue of the TRN Newsletter, the Newsticker also ensured that the TRN database was updated regularly.

The Trauma Research Net, as a forum associated with and supported by the Hamburg Institute for Social Research, was dissolved at the end of 2007. The literature and source materials collected by the network’s coordinating office were donated to the library of the Berliner Zentrum für Folteropfer (Berlin Center for the Treatment of Torture Victims).