Northern Ireland Symposium

January 2015

I gave a keynote address at this symposium examining the role of language in allowing individuals to deal with the traumas of the past. I discussed how perpetrators, victims, and observers of the violence that occurred during the Troubles in Northern Ireland talk about their experiences in their everyday discourse.  I am particularly interested in how this encoding process works both in terms of giving meaning to events, and in terms of allowing individuals to deal psychologically with what has occurred.  I argued that these mundane but fundamental processes are critical to understanding the situation that exists there today.