The Columns

Walter Davis to Give Two Talks on the Effects of Traumatic Events

— by on May 1st, 2008

Walter Davis, professor emeritus of English at Ohio State University, will give two public talks while at Washington and Lee University under the sponsorship of the Class of ’63 Scholars in Residence program. Davis will meet with students and faculty and participate in a seminar in aesthetics.

On Wednesday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Science Center, room 214, Davis will speak on the effects of traumatic events in a talk titled “Hiroshima, 9/11 and the Nuclear Threat: Psychological Reflections on the American Character.”

He will also give a reading from his play in a talk titled “An Evening with JonBenét Ramsey: The Trauma of Child Abuse” on Thursday, May 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons.

Davis has written widely on philosophy and criticism and is also a playwright. His books include “Get the Guests: Psychoanalysis, Modern American Drama and the Audience”; “Deracination: Hiroshima, Historicity, and the Tragic Imperative”; and “Death’s Dream Kingdom: The American Psyche Since 9-11.” His plays include “An Evening with JonBenét Ramsey” and “The Holocaust Memorial: A Play About Hiroshima.” As an actor, Davis has played a variety of roles ranging from Hamlet to Oscar Madison (of “The Odd Couple”).

Davis is interested in the relations between art, politics and history. In particular, he explores the use of psychoanalysis, ideological critique and drama to reveal the effects of traumatic events on individuals and societies and the possibilities that these events open up.