Promise and Perils of Trigger Warnings

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Trigger warnings and discourse

Who is not in this room? Who are we? We’re all from the U.S. We’ve got people over and under thirty. We have people that are neurodiverse and folks that identify with mental illnesses like PTSD. We have people from industry and academia.

There is an inherent tension between protecting emotional health and academic freedom. There are different goals in different contexts. In the classroom, for example, there are explicit educational goals and explicit rules about conduct.

Trigger warnings can bring headspace for preparing people to hear particular things. In the classroom, it’s a recognition that you as a teacher are in a power position, and you have control of the discourse. But is there someway to expand it beyond voluntary implementation of trigger warnings or content notifications? If it’s totally voluntary, it likely will only be a small subset of educators that use them (and those would be the educators already primed to be sensitive to these issues).