Ravaged Lives: Can They Be Restored?

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Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.  4-week course  (2/3, 2/10, 2/17, 2/24)

If it happens, it’s possible. Tragically, Northern Ireland and the U.S. present an abundance of ravaged lives. So also do they present creative social healing pro-cesses that are configured to elicit empathy and shared humanness . . . striking examples of which we will explore in depth.

We often survive appalling tragedy – e.g., loss of loved ones, war, rape, prison, exactions of ghetto life, genocide, ostracism. But with survival often comes deep, enduring wounds……. chief among which are bitterness and despair, truly life ravaging emotions

Can these wounds be healed? If it happens, it’s possible. And – Yes(!) – it does happen. This course inspects striking instances of such happenings.

Main common denominators of the disparate happenings are socio drama in which the wounded feature centrally; story telling; hearing the other; empathy……. and the experience – often across yawning social gulfs – of shared humanness

Our case material will come from the several faces of tragedy in our own land; from N. Ireland’s biter sectarian strife; and…… for big deal cross cultural perspective, from a S. African hunting and gathering(forager)culture. These materials at once present often excruciating suffering and a message of hope.

Steven Pikeris an anthropologist who taught for 44 years at Swarthmore College, did field work in Thailand, and studied religious conversion in the U.S. He has taught for 3 Maine senior colleges. Reading: Sepinuck,Theater of Witness: Finding the Medicine in Stories of Suffering, Transformation and Peace, ISBN 978-1849053822.