Kali Tal

I’ve lived a full and interesting life, and I’ve never been able to resist chasing an idea to see where it leads me. I've been called "incorrigibly interdisciplinary" as I've followed my interests from history to historiography, to literary theory, to feminist theory, to sociology and cultural anthropology,, and finally to medicine. I've been broadly homed in area studies: American Studies, African American Studies, Cultural Studies, and now Primary Care Medicine. Topics I've written on in depth include the history and literature of the US war in Vietnam, the literature of trauma, PTSD, afrofuturism, and HIV treatment.

Editing has always been as much of a passion as scholarship. Over the last 40 years I've edited academic papers, poetry, academic journals, novels, grants, and presentations. My interest in editing is only matched by my passion for teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Current employment

Since 2012, I’ve contributed my qualitative expertise to scientific research projects on topics including HIV treatment, homicide-suicides, palliative care, gender disparities in medicine, smoking cessation, and a variety of topics in primary and preventive care medicine. I’m privileged to work in the Substance Use research group led by Prof. Dr. med. Reto Auer, and to coach his graduate students in writing.

Curriculum design and teaching take up much of my time, and I’m homed in the Research Support Services department of the Medical Library of the University of Bern. Since most ESL writers in the sciences have not had the opportunity to get the same training in rhetoric, composition, and scientific writing as native English speakers (especially those trained in the US), I’ve developed a series of scientific writing workshops that train writers in essential skills, from proper English paragraphing, to outlining, to drafting the narrative and objective sections of scientific papers.  My training as a literary theorist was surprisingly useful in devising this teaching method, which has now been institutionalized in the medical, dental, and pharmacy curriculum at the University of Bern, and extended to students at the Swiss Tropical Health Institute and students of the Switzerland-wide public health program, SSPH+.

Past and present pursuits

Kali Tal Consulting

In 2010, I started a small freelance business that offers substantive academic editing to a select group of scholars and researchers. I regularly edit papers and grants in medicine and health science, and academic books and articles in humanities, social sciences, and law.

Trauma Studies

In the late 1980s, I began defining a field I called "literature of trauma," and wrote the seminal book on the topic: Worlds of Hurt (Cambridge U Press, 1995). Between 1989-1993, I worked as a consultant at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC, in both the oral history department and media center. Between 1988 and 2003 I interviewed hundreds of trauma survivors and edited and published their creative and non-fiction writing.


In the mid-1990s I became deeply involved with the Afrofuturism listserv founded by Alondra Nelson. The list was a hotbed of innovation and discussion—it was a privilege to be part of such an inspiring community. While I wrote and read thousands of screens of text, I also produced a few articles.

Vietnam War and Sixties Studies

During the 1980s and into the mid-1990s, I specialized in literature by US combat veterans of the Vietnam war. In addition to writing, I ran a journal, a small press, and a conference series that focused on the period. You can find the entire text of the journals online at La Salle University Library, Connolly Library, Special Collections. The library also houses my collected papers, conference programs, and all editions published by Burning Cities press.

Fun Facts



Years in the profession


h-index / i10-index

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