University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

IAS Thursdays: Unspoken

Available for download as audio (.mp3, 76.7MB) or video (.m4v, 433.1MB).

Question and Answer Session

Available for download as audio (.mp3, 11.5MB) or video (.m4v, 65.3MB).

“The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma.” (Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery, 1992).

9.12.13 RK_Unspoken credit in flyer


This conflict operates in our bodies, our minds, and in our societies.

Rebecca Krinke, Professor of Landscape Architecture, UMN, has an art practice and research agenda focused on trauma and responses to trauma.  Krinke has invited five distinguished scholars to help her explore this issue through short individual presentations and reflective discussion.

David Beard, Associate Professor of Rhetoric, UMD, speaking on the 1920 lynchings in Duluth and their ongoing impact.
Jeanne Kilde, Religious Studies, UMN, speaking on issues related to the Muslim Community Center proposed near ground zero, NYC.
Kevin Murphy, Associate Professor of History and a UMN leader of the multi-institutional “Guantanamo Public Memory Project.”

Naomi Scheman, Professor of Philosophy, UMN.
José Medina, Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University.

Please join the discussion ~
This event took place Thursday, September 12, 2013, at 4:00 pm in 125 Nolte. Co-Sponsored by Religious Studies.

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  1. Ann WaltnerSeptember 21, 2013 at 10:08 amReply

    This is an excerpt from Maria Popova’s excellent Brainpickings, about subjective mapping of Manhattan. It’s actually more relevant to some of Rebecca’s earlier work than it is to this particular conversation, but I think it’s still to the point.

  2. AngelaSeptember 19, 2013 at 1:08 pmReply

    Just a quick note:

    I cannot tell you how exciting it was to be in a room of other folks thinking about trauma on both the personal and cultural level.

    Wonderful presentations. Great discussion. Exciting community of thinkers!

  3. David BeardSeptember 15, 2013 at 11:53 pmReply

    What made this event successful, I think, was the way it moved beyond simple issues of repression toward (as Dr. Medina pointed out) appropriate silence. (Dr. Medina seemed to point us toward the different of Lyotard.)

    So many connections, all valuable…

  4. EfeSeptember 13, 2013 at 2:44 pmReply

    What is unspoken says as much or more than what is said, sometimes I thought was eloquently said by Prof. David Beard. I thought that the panel discussion did an excellent job in the juxtaposition of visual text, photography and imagery.

    One of the underlining themes that stuck out to me during the presentations and discussion was the “Silence of Shame”. This phrase encompasses a dimensional interpretation from the; past, present and future. The act of remaining silence is sometimes a coping method that is used by perpetrators and bystanders. To conceal the events in hopes that the transgressions dissipates into vacuum of obscurity, is a way that “we” as a community tend to find resolute instances that were discussed. This transgression of the actors upon the inflicted audience (People or persons) demonstrated by (Ground Zero, Guantanamo, the Duluth Lynching.) exemplified this meaning of “Unspoken”. I would like to see or hear more about the role of shaming and the context and relationship it has by the perpetrator and the victim.

  5. Ann WaltnerSeptember 7, 2013 at 4:52 pmReply

    Rebecca Krinke sent this message for the blog, to get the conversation about the panel started.

    Making as Thinking
    For IAS Blog —Unspoken
    Rebecca Krinke
    September 7, 2013

    The impulse to create an Unspoken Panel came from my art practice. I have learned through making my art that “the unspoken” is a primary theme of my work. Tim Ingold, in his new book, Making: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art, and Architecture, offers the premise that the academy foregrounds the theorist or scholar who “makes through thinking”, and does not often see another way of thinking – the artist who “thinks through making”. This was useful to me – and as one who primarily “thinks through making” – I realized that I wanted to explore the theme of “the unspoken” with those who primarily “make through thinking”. I see this panel as one aspect of a large multidimensional project I am just beginning on “the unspoken”.

    I will open the Thursday @ 4 by very briefly showing two artworks of mine that helped me to see “the unspoken”. One is from my studio practice (Undertow: The Clues), an installation made for a gallery show, and the other a participatory work of public art (What Needs To Be Said?).

    I am delighted that five distinguished scholars David Beard, Jeanne Kilde, Kevin Murphy, Naomi Scheman and José Medina accepted the invitation to be part of Unspoken and present short illustrated presentations on how they see “the unspoken” in their work – primarily with sites of trauma: Ground Zero, Guantanamo, the Duluth Lynching. The enthusiasm for this topic showed by the panelists has been deeply gratifying; for example, when I first floated the idea of this project/panel, David Beard, Associate Professor, Rhetoric, UMD, wrote to me:

    “As a communication teacher, I am deeply interested in supporting this. What is unspoken says as much or more than what is said, sometimes. As a Duluthian, the standard example of this was the erasure from the public record and the public discourse of the Lynching in 1920. From about 1930 to 1990, the Lynching was repressed in public memory and actually obscured, by some accounts, from the public record (perpetrators were convicted of “incitement” rather than of murder, for example).”

    Some of the questions I am interested in exploring in my own work and in the Unspoken project are:

    • What does it mean to speak the unspoken? When does this happen and why? What results?

    • In a global, online culture, what are the ways that virtual space interacts with the unspoken? And how can we think about the role of physical space and virtual space for addressing the unspoken?

    • How do conceptions of public and private engage ideas of the unspoken?

    • What are the conditions that surround the making of the “new memorials” that have been built in the last ten years – that center on ideas of redress, atonement, and reconciliation? What impact do these sites have on those affected by the trauma? How do they compare with “unofficial memorials” built by individuals or grassroots efforts?

    About Rebecca Krinke, panel organizer:
    I have built several works of public art-design that explore ideas and issues surrounding what is public and what is private, what is said and not said, and what is deliberately withheld (unspoken). I have also explored what cannot be said because it exists in memory fragments or intrusions only. Recent built works of mine have created temporary shared social spaces for emotional engagement and catharsis; these include What Needs To Be Said?, a contemplative writing room and social engagement project located in a vacant storefront on University Avenue and at the Nash Gallery, 2012; and Flood Stories, 2011, commissioned by the Plains Art Museum in Fargo. Unseen/Seen: The Mapping of Joy and Pain traveled to parks and public spaces in Minneapolis-St. Paul in the summer of 2010, and challenged conventional ways of seeing the Twin Cities as it invited participants to map their emotional connection to place.

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