Memory and Trauma in the US Literature

The interdisciplinary research group studying various representations of memory and trauma in the US was established in 2020 at the Jagiellonian University with the help of a grant (U1U/P01/NO/03.13) awarded by ID POB Heritage at the Jagiellonian Univesity. The group includes the representatives of five universities from four countries:

Rebeca Hains (Salem State University, USA)

Joanna Davis-McElligat (University of North Texas, USA)

Frédérique Spill (Université de Picardie Jules Verne, France)

Solveig Dunkel (Université de Picardie Jules Verne, France)

Beata Piątek (Jagiellonian University, Poland)

Dennis Mischke (Freie Universität, Germany)

Michał Choiński (Jagiellonian University, Poland) [group coordinator]

My research in the group focuses on various representatives of homecoming in the US. In his socio-psychological study, Returning Home (2011), Jerry M. Burger observes that “America is on the move” (3), and now, more than ever, a vital element of this mobility concerns the contexts of memory. The goal behind this part of the group’s research is to study how contemporary authors from the South: Dorothy Allison, Jesmyn Ward, Rick Bragg, Saidiya Hartman, Natasha Thretheway and W. Raph Eubanks employ the motif of return to home in their works from a variety of different angles and how they remain “on the move” in the narrative sense. By looking at various narrative and figurative strategies used by these authors to represent homebound journeys, I seek to establish a current perspective on Thomas Wolfe’s famous dilemma that one “cannot go home anymore”, as well as to contribute to the discussion about the regional and global South, and southern mobility.



1. Coming Back Home to Oppressive Mississippi: A Figurative Study of Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped, Polish Journal of American Studies 15 (2021), pp. 163-179.

2. The Narrative of Dual Homecoming in Dorothy Allison’s Cavedweller, Anglica: An International Journal of English Studies, Volume 30, No.4/2021, pp. 49-61.

3. A Tender Returnee – Saidya Hartman’s Lose Your Mother and Olga Tokarczuk’s Tender Narrator, The Southern Quarterly, 2022 (59) (special issue)