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French Section / Fall 2019

Sheri Abel, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of French

Art From Trauma: Genocide and Healing Beyond Rwanda, edited with an introduction by Rangira Béa Gallimore and Gerise Herndon. 2019.

Art from Trauma is a collection of essays that show the value of the arts to represent and make sense of traumatic events such as genocide, war and exile, sexual violence, and human right abuses; and the power of the arts to heal individual and collective trauma. The artistic forms represented are varied and often intermodal: visual, dramatic, cinematic, musical, literary.

The authors illustrate the cruciality of giving victims the opportunity to share their stories as a way of documenting, validating their experiences, and mourning. The essays also point to the need to be witnessed and to be offered the gift of deep listening/seeing as part of the healing process.

Despite the horrors done to one human by another, these essays show how engaging in the arts allows trauma victims to regain a sense of control, of wholeness; to reclaim their dignity; and to feel less alone. They also give witness to the truth that there is hope in this broken world. 

Sheri Abel's faculty page

Jonathan Liversedge ’19

French program alumnus

Home, by Marilynne Robinson. 2008.

This past summer I started reading Marilynne Robinson’s Home. The second in Robinson’s Gilead trilogy, this installment introduces us to the Boughton family. There is Robert Boughton, a widower and the town of Gilead’s Presbyterian minister; his middle-aged daughter Gloria, who has returned home after a failed engagement and lackluster career to care for her aging parent; and the prodigal Jack, who has also finally come back after an absence of twenty years. Writing with the same kind of rocking-chair prose that she established in Gilead, Robinson examines her characters with the wisdom of a philosopher and the care of a pastor. In the process, she brings out the sacred beauty and eternal weight of “home” with all its simple relationships, mundane activities, and un-extraordinary places.

A recent graduate, I am in a season of asking what “home” means. If you are in a similar place, or just in need of a good story, I would highly recommend this book!

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