Feminism, Art and the Metaphors of Trauma

This course is, ultimately, an exploration into the visual metaphors of remembrance. It explores, across several centuries, the artworks of feminist artists who have been exposed to, or ally with, relentless traumas; sexual violence, casualties of war, racial and social injustice, and the trafficking of women and girls. Visual manifestations of anguish, persistence, and reckoning, that populate and coalesce in these artworks, will be a major focus of this course. Additionally, students will explore these topics through group and individual studio art projects designed to gain tangible insights into the emergence of artworks manifested in the wake of tragedy.

UCLA Honors Collegium 159 Feminism Art and Metaphors of Trauma

Art and Trauma

Examination of how slavery, war, psychiatric institutionalization, and child sexual abuse shaped singular artistic visions. Depictions of severe trauma can be expressed in several ways–external event (e.g., war), internal psychological process (e.g., depression), or symbolic unfolding (e.g., disintegration of individual). Manner in which trauma is embedded in brain and stored in memory is also critical. Exploration of research on memory and trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and how severe trauma impacts brain. Studio component in form of individual and group projects to offer more tangible insight into process of art and trauma.

The underlying rationale for the UCLA Art & Trauma course has now been published in Studies in Art Education. This is the complete reference: Abramson, Tania L. & Abramson, Paul R. (2019). The UCLA Art and Trauma Class: A Serendipitous Journey. Studies in Art Education, 60(1), 58-62.

UCLA Honors Collegium 149 Art and Trauma

Course syllabi available upon request.


Winter 2021 Student Evaluations for “Feminism, Art & Metaphors of Trauma” UCLA Honors 159

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