Global Arts and Cultures

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Adrie Kusserow | THE TRAUMA MANTRAS: Refugees, Healing and the Globalization of Trauma Stories


Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Memorial Hall, Tap Room (4th Floor)

Kusserow will read from her latest book The Trauma Mantras: A Memoir in Prose Poetry (Duke University Press, 2024), discuss some its key themes around the globalization of American conceptions of self, trauma and healing, as well as the stories refugees are encouraged to tell themselves about their suffering, and the use of poetry as a tool in ethnographic research.

Adrie Kusserow

Adrie Kusserow is a cultural anthropologist, teacher and poet, and Chair of the Department of Sociology/Anthropology at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. For over two decades she has worked with refugees and humanitarian projects in South Sudan, Uganda, Nepal, Northern India and Vermont. Along with the Lost Boys of Sudan resettled in Vermont, she helped co-found the NGO AfricaELI: Bridging Gender Gaps Through Education ( She is the author of three books of ethnographic poetry, (Hunting Down the Monk; REFUGE, (published by BOA Editions, Ltd) and The Trauma Mantras, (Duke University Press). Kusserow has published work on the importance of hybrid forms of writing (autoethnography, poetry, memoir, ethnography) about her ethnographic research in The Creative Ethnographers Notebook (Routledge), A Different Kind of Ethnography (U Toronto Press), Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing (Duke University Press) as well as the use of poetry as a tool in ethnographic research (Anthropologica). Her most recent book, The Trauma Mantras: A Memoir In Prose Poems explores the globalization of American concepts of trauma, as well as a critique of Western conceptions of self, healing and suffering. Kusserow explores the way American culture prizes a psychologized individualism as well as the hierarchy of accepted stories we tell about ourselves and weave from what dominant cultural meanings surround us.