The Words We Dare Not Speak: Navigating Mental, Emotional Psychological Sites of Trauma in the Academy

Type: Panel
Theme: Black Geographies
Sponsor Groups: Disability Specialty Group, Graduate Student Affinity Group, Careers and Professional Development
Poster #:
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Napoleon D3, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Organizers: Dugan Meyer, Aretina Hamilton
Chairs: Dugan Meyer


In 2003, a Chronicle of Higher Education the pseudonymous Thomas Benton wrote about his experiences with depression and anxiety in graduate school. In this article, he wrote, “Grad school is a confidence-killing daily assault of petty degradations. All of this is compounded by the fear that it is all for nothing; that you are a useful fool.” More recently, Science Magazine published an article that “systemic mental health issues” are frequently ignored. For many, there is an arduous and tricky journey through graduate school. As one former PhD lamented, “the stiff-upper-lip attitude that pervades the ivory tower can prompt many people who struggle with mental health problems to keep their problems hidden, while others simply accept depression as par for the course.” Of course, these battles are not limited to graduate school as evidenced by a talk given by Peter Railton, the Gregory S. Kavka Distinguished University Professor and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan who detailed his battle with depression.

As geographers, we frequently study sites of trauma, exclusion, violence and contestation; however seldom do we acknowledge or write about how the academy reproduces these sites onto our bodies. This session will provide a space where we can speak openly and honestly about these sites and experiences.


Type Details Minutes
Discussant Dugan Meyer University of Kentucky 20
Discussant Aretina Hamilton Georgia Gwinnett College - Lawrenceville, GA 20
Panelist Toni Alexander Southeast Missouri State University 20
Panelist Linda Peake York University 20
Panelist Alisa Shockley Temple University 20

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