Israk Zahan Papia
He is a Lecturer in the Department of English at Daffodil International University, Bangladesh, where she has been working since January 2015 (currently she is on study leave). Earlier, she worked as an Exam Invigilator at British Council, Dhaka for about a year right after her graduation. She did her Bachelors in English in 2011 and Masters in English Literature in 2012 at University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh.
An enduring interest in literature, especially literature in the area of Trauma and Memory Studies has shaped her professional and research trajectory, and she remains committed to exploring the representation of historical as well as contemporary traumas in literature, in dystopian and speculative fictions in particular. She has written two articles so far, one of which was published in English Studies in India in 2017, and the other is in the review process. Israk also presented three papers in international conferences. She has always been intrigued by how the past has bearings on the present, and the research she has done so far deals with this issue. Her recent interest in empathy is the result of her engaging with the discussions of the role of empathy in transforming traumatized communities at Historical Trauma and Transformation, Stellenbosch University.
Eleonora Rao, University of Salerno
Presentation of the Research
Representation of Speculative Trauma and Empathy Generation: A Study of Margaret Atwood’s Dystopian Novels
Israk’s proposed project, “Representation of Speculative Trauma and Empathy Generation: A Study of Margaret Atwood’s Dystopian Novels,” is premised on the representational capacity of dystopian novels for empathy generation. Her research examines the interdisciplinarity between literature, cognitive psychology, trauma and memory studies, cultural studies, and gender studies in order to investigate the representational techniques in Atwood’s dystopian novels that can empathically engage the audience. It proposes to expand our knowledge and enhance our understanding about emotional responses to creative arts through close analyses of dystopian texts.
Her study intends to be a scholarly response to the massive change world politics is going through right now in the form of the rise of populism in the USA and many parts of Europe. Dystopian novels, Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale in Particular, have been discussed in and outside of academia after Brexit took place and Donald Trump won the US election in 2016. It is timely, therefore, to explore this genre in the context of recent events.