When History Wakes: Cultural and Ecological Memory


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ImprintHistory:

Detail from Imprint of History
Impresión de Historia
By Claudia Bernardi
Fresco on paper, 30" x 60", 1997.
From the collection of Deborah Cullinam

When History Wakes,
image becomes deed,
the poem is achieved:
poetry goes into action.

- Octavio Paz

This conference held on October 15-17, 2004 was co-sponsored by the Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Depth Psychology M.A./Ph.D. Program and its Public Programs Department. It was held at La Casa de Maria at Ladera, Santa Barbara, California.

Americans are said to suffer from social amnesia, quick to forget the cultural past, hungrily turning toward the future as a site for potential acquisition and individual fulfillment. Psychotherapy has largely colluded with this amnesia, encouraging us to work with our individual histories as though they were detached from culture and nature, as though healing was only a matter of individual work. Traumatic cultural and ecological events, however, leave footprints on the soul. Depth psychology asks us to attune to symptoms, footprints, as a way to open what has been repressed and unworked about the past so that we may more creatively engage the present and future. Liberation psychologies ask how the forgetting of our cultural histories has affected us as individuals and communities, determining in part how we treat each other and the natural world. Using depth and liberation psychologies this conference sought to follow individual and cultural symptoms to the histories that need to be retrieved, told, and integrated, exploring how we can create the necessary social spaces to invite their stories.

The conference featured Susan Griffin, Robin Kelley, David Bona, Helene Lorenz, Aaron Kipnis, Mary Watkins and Pacifica Depth Program students and alumni who are on the forefront of radical imagination, expanding our capacities for rethinking past, present, and future. Workshops on the use of liberation arts and dialogue were offered to train participants how to open social spaces to host cultural and ecological memory. Activists on the front lines of this restorative work spoke about work in their communities, allowing us to witness the theories and practices of liberation psychologies and arts in the making.

Susan Griffin
The Ground of Memory and the Soul’s Circumference

Peggy Diane Avakian
Circle of Love: The Candle Dance of Historic Armenia

Lou Montgomery
Kali’s Follies

Helene Lorenz
pdf.gif:  Amnesia/Countermemory 

Mary Watkins
pdf.gif:  Notes from a Visit to Chiapas: Toward Practices of Nomadic Identity

Shelley Tochluk Gottfred
pdf.gif:  Perceiving Whiteness: Possibilities for Collective Healing

Gordon Lee
Excavating Memories, Constructing Dreams: The International Hotel

Jennifer Selig
pdf.gif:  To Save the Soul of America: The Unfinished Mission of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Siri Singh
In Search of Soul

Brent Blair
Theatre of the Oppressed

Constance Buck
Tolerating the Intolerable: Sociodramatic Methods to Heal Dissociative Cultural Trauma

Tayria Ward
pdf.gif:  Dialogue, Depth Psychology and the Ground of Being: A Method for Individual and Collective Transformation

Craig Chalquist
Cortez in our Complexes: Acting Out Now as Acting Back Here

Melinda Harthcock
Caring as a Subversive Activity: Breaking the Silence

Michael Martella
Cult Wounds, Cult Healing

Ruth Meyer
Clio’s Circle: Historians Who Dare to Embrace the Unconscious

Susan Laskowski
Memories, Nightmares, Reflections: Dancing with Incest

Anthony Palombit
Footprints of Internalized Homophobia

Patsy Shealy
Military Children: Collateral Damage in the ‘War Within the Warrior’

Sylvia Villareal
Reshaping Cultural Identities: Emerging Voices from the Borderlands

Delia Moon
Banjo Music and Memory

Robin Kelley
Liberating Memories: Social Movements and the Power of History
Related website: Freedom Dreams 

Canto
Improvised reading of Susan Griffin’s play based on the art of Claudia Bernardi

Aaron Kipnis
Juvenile Justice as Dismemberment by Cultural Disassociation

David Bona
Ritual Heals

Liz Murphy
Will You Wake For Pity’s Sake?

Tim LaSalle
Visions of Sustainable Environments through Experiencing Past Destruction of Ecosystems

Laura Mitchell
pdf.gif:  An Eco-imaginal Approach to Issues of Identity and Land Conservation

 
Links:

Mass Extinction Underway

Chiapas Media Project

Zapatista Movement, Chiapas

U.S./Mexico Border Study

Ojai Foundation, Council Training

Strategic Design in the Choice of Truth Commissions

International Conflict Research: Dealing With the Past

Claudia Bernardi's Artwork