Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

Sandra Lee Dixon

Second Advisor

Ted Vial

Third Advisor

Thomas Nail


Listening, Post-Heidegger, Trauma


What is it to have a voice, to be heard? And how is this connected to the need to have someone listen? Through a close reading of Heidegger’s later works woven together with readings of Judith Butler, Jean Luc Marion, Michel Foucault, and Shoshana Felman, I explore a concept of Listening as it is connected to the event of our being, creating a theory of Listening that emphasizes what happens in the Listener as she Listens.

The concept of Listening is relied on, but under-considered, in both clinical and philosophical theories. In order to understand what it means to have a voice or to be heard in the aftermath of trauma, we need a more accurate and nuanced understanding of what happens when we Listen in the therapeutic setting, as well as more generally. Exploring the happening of Listening gives us an increased understanding of what Listening to trauma requires of the Listener as she addresses the unspeakableness of the survivors’ experiences.

By developing a new way of thinking about what happens in the Listener as she Listens, I make these two contributions: in Heideggerian studies I offer an application of Heidegger’s analysis of Dasein, and in Trauma Studies, I offer a new way to view what a Listener does as she Listens.

Building on the practical emphasis in Trauma Studies on the importance of Listening, how to Listen, and in particular how to Listen in such a way as to not develop secondary post-traumatic stress as a Listener, I develop a new way of thinking about what it is that happens in the Listener as she listens to the traumatic, or more precisely, Listens to what is unspeakable in the trauma—that which makes it, by definition, traumatic.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Kathleen M. Douglass


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

275 pgs


Philosophy, Counseling psychology, Therapy

Available for download on Friday, April 11, 2025