Leaving the shadow of Pain. A cross-cultural exploration of truth, forgiveness, reconciliation and healing

Doris H. Gray

ISBN 978-3-8325-5144-5
110 pages, year of publication: 2020
price: 24.00 €
Leaving the shadow of Pain. A cross-cultural exploration of truth, forgiveness, reconciliation and healing
Rezension: "Instead, Leaving the Shadow of Pain paints an intimate portrait of personhood in the field – what we bring with us, who we are, and how it binds us to others in sometimes unexpected ways. As such, it reveals the complex affective and psychic terrains we navigate in order to tell stories about the state and society, about our research, and about ourselves." Leslie Gross-Wyrtzen, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA; In: The Journal of North African Studies,Datum des Zugriffs 3.2.2021,

Inhalt: In this small volume, Doris H. Gray shares her reflections on human responses to trauma – especially when it is kept secret – and on attempts at healing that transcend boundaries. She offers insights on how individuals recover from trauma, in particular when official procedures for redress and professional help are not available. She challenges conventional notions of forgiveness and reconciliation, which often put the pressure on victims to move forward. Most of all, Gray finds that victims´ efforts to come to terms with trauma are not disconnected, but are related across time, culture, religion and geography.

Part of this book narrates Gray’s personal experiences of growing up with her father, who was a Holocaust survivor, the sudden death of her oldest child, her own rape, and soon thereafter, the death of her husband. She describes how these events shaped her scholarly research, especially that on women who were victims of torture and extreme discrimination during the Tunisian dictatorship of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (1989-2011). It is the sum of these experiences that lays the foundation for this brave book.

Dr. Doris H. Gray was Director of the Hillary Clinton Center for Women´s Empowerment at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, where she also served as Professor of Women and Gender Studies. Before moving to Morocco, she taught in the Gender Studies Program and the Department of Modern Languages at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. Her research focuses on gender and women´s rights and transitional justice in Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. She has previously published three books.

"Gray shows how, even in the absence of reconciliation, ways can nevertheless be found to help victims rebuild their lives step by step so that light comes to outweigh darkness. In a world where democracy and the rule of law are increasingly under threat, this books provides ground for hope through the author’s personal testimony and her rich insights into a wide range of scholarly fields including trauma studies, human rights, and ethnography."
Alec G. Hargreaves
Emeritus Professor of Transcultural French Studies
Florida State University

"I read this book a few days ago. It is a powerful book, very personal, poignant, and moving. It examines the cost of silence about trauma and shows how human connection can be a way to cope with life's tragedies and wounds. It is a short book, but a true masterpiece."
Dr. Aili Tripp
Wangari Maathai Professor of Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies/Comparative Political Science
University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Table of contents (PDF)

Preview (PDF)


  • Trauma
  • Healing
  • Holocaust survivor
  • Death
  • Heuristic research methodology


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