Having the ability to tell your story can change your life – at least according to Susan Derwin, a specialist on trauma studies and a professor in UC Santa Barbara’s Comparative Literature and Germanic and Slavic Studies departments. Derwin has created a space for student veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars – as well as their loved ones — to employ storytelling in order to both recover from personal trauma and to share their experiences with the public.
As director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center (IHC) on campus, Derwin created the course seven years ago and continues to teach it today. The class is titled “Writing Workshop for Student Veterans and Their Loved Ones,” and during the summer there is an opportunity for student veterans from across the entire UC system to participate in a similar workshop.
In a recent interview, Derwin discusses the power of narrative today, a time when many voices continue to go unheard.