“The trauma of war is hereditary”

The trauma of war does not disappear when weapons are laid down and peace declared. It lives on – literally – through the body and between generations. This is what researcher Claudia Tazreiter said in a new seminar series that started on Wednesday, inspired by the war in Ukraine.

Claudia Tazreiter during the seminar in Studenthuset. Magnus Johansson

Show solidarity

How can research perspectives help us to understand, relate to and maybe even act in the light of what is happening right now in Europe? This is the overall question for the open seminars, which from this week are being held every Wednesday lunchtime in Studenthuset at Campus Valla.

Josefina Syssner.Josefina Syssner. Photo credit Anders Risenstrand

“There's a strong wish among teachers, researchers and students to activate their expertise and use critical social sciences perspectives to understand what is happening. This could also be seen clearly during the pandemic”, says Josefina Syssner, associate professor and head of department at the Department of Culture and Society (IKOS). It is she who has taken the initiative to the seminar series.

“It is also important to be able to come together, both to show our solidarity with Ukraine, and so that we don't sit alone with our questions and worries. So there are several purposes with this arrangement.”

Role for research

During the first seminar, professor in sociology and migration researcher Claudia Tazreiter talked about what science can teach us about refugees and migration, against the background of the millions of people who have been forced to leave Ukraine, and also other refugee catastrophes around the world. She also emphasized the big responsibility that researchers and students now have when trying to understand the situation.

“The science shows that traumas from war affect the bodies of those who are afflicted, as well as those in later generations. The trauma that is right now being inflicted upon children, women and men will also affect their children”, she says, pointing to studies that show changes in the brains of people who have experienced trauma compared to people who have lived in peacetime.

“As I see it, researchers and students have a key role both in collaborating between different scientific disciplines and in getting knowledge out there to politicians and the general public.”

Don't look away

Claudia Tazreiter encouraged the audience not to “look away”, but instead to really follow and acquaint themselves with what is happening in Ukraine. But not just there – war and refugee crisis are taking place all over the world.

“Humanitarian crises can be seen in Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen, to name just three examples. At the same time as the EU is showing solidarity with Ukraine, laws are being passed to send other refugees back to their countries”, she says, encouraging the audience to treat all refugees equally regardless of where they come from.

The Wednesday seminars are being held at 12:15 in Lövverket, Studenthuset, until further notice. The situation in Ukraine will determine how long the arrangement will continue.

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