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Winner Robert Chambers Award 2018

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DSAI are delighted to announce the winner of the Robert Chambers Award 2018 to Mairéad Smith, for her paper 'The Search for Meaning in Memory in the Aftermath of Genocide: The Construction of Êzîdî Identity'.

Extract from Abstract:

The 2014 Êzîdî Genocide caused a rupture in the social fabric of the Iraqi ethno-religious Êzîdî minority as a whole, disrupting a sense of self on an individual level and identity on a collective level. A search for meaning in the aftermath of such violence has caused a group of poets, which I label memory makers, to understand the causes of the event by partaking in memory work through the composition of Arabic prose poetry.
A narrative analysis has been used on a selection of poems written and semi-structured interviews conducted with five poets, and I investigate their trauma process through adopting the theory of a cultural trauma, viewing ‘trauma’ from a social constructivist point of view in an attempt to advance and challenge trauma theory and position the importance of investigating memory in terms of collective healing after violence. With a focus on the nature of the suffering, the nature of the victim, and the attribution of responsibility which this theoretical lens provides, I attempt to move past narratives of ‘victimhood’ which often pervade after violence, and definitions of trauma as event-based which lend to obscure the understanding of those who have not experienced the event. 

About the Author:

Mairéad Smith is a Masters graduate of the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University, Sweden and a former Erasmus Mundus MARHABA scholarship holder at Koya University in Iraqi Kurdistan. She is currently a Ph.D candidate at Brown University beginning this autumn.  Mairéad’s research interests are focused on minority rights and the intersection between narrative, collective identity and contestations of the past, particularly in relation to minority groups in the Middle East. 

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