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War Trauma

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War Trauma

  1. 1. War Trauma <ul><li>Trauma theory </li></ul><ul><li>9/11 and trauma </li></ul><ul><li>Reading traumatic texts </li></ul><ul><li>DeLillo, Falling Man </li></ul><ul><li>Auster, Man in the Dark </li></ul>
  2. 2. Trauma <ul><li>Trauma overwhelm existing meaning systems. </li></ul><ul><li>An event outside the range of human experience. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The most significant question then is: what is the range of human experience? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender, race, class, ethnicity, religion and more are all components to be considered. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is traumatic to some is not traumatic to others. </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Cathy Caruth, Unclaimed Experience <ul><li>Trauma is unassimilated, not known in the first instance but returns to haunt the survivor. (4) </li></ul><ul><li>Tells of what is not grasped. (6) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Cathy Caruth, Unclaimed Experience <ul><li>&quot;What returns to haunt the victim, these stories tell us, is not only the reality of the violent event but also the reality of the way that its violence has not yet been fully known.&quot; (6) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Cathy Caruth, Unclaimed Experience <ul><li>&quot;The historical power of the trauma is not just that the experience is repeated after its forgetting, but that it is only in and through its inherent forgetting that it is first experienced at all.&quot; (17) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We can connect this to our notion of cultural memory. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Trauma and Memory <ul><li>“ Why and how the past is remembered has increasingly become a source of conflict” </li></ul><ul><li>(Andrew Hoskins, Televising War 3 ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the range of human experience? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Which and whose experiences are the most significant? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In relation to 9/11? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. 9/11 and Trauma <ul><li>“Responses to September 11 is a symptom of cultural amnesia in that it narrowly focuses on concrete dramatic events while neglecting context.” </li></ul><ul><li>Janice Haaken: “Cultural Amnesia: Memory, Trauma, and War” </li></ul>
  8. 8. 9/11 and Trauma <ul><li>“Projective identification is an elaboration of this defensive splitting, where disturbing feelings of destructiveness within the self or the group are kept at a distance by projecting the ‘bad’ onto an external order.” </li></ul><ul><li>Janice Haaken: “Cultural Amnesia: Memory, Trauma, and War” </li></ul>
  9. 9. 9/11 and Trauma <ul><li>Refusal to develop political background reproduces a tendency to assume that good motives are enough to justify any action. </li></ul><ul><li>(McAlister, “A Cultural History of the War Without End” 454) </li></ul>
  10. 10. 9/11 and Trauma <ul><li>“Cultural texts do not inject ideologies into their audiences, but they do figure in the process of constructing frameworks that help policy make sense in a given moment.” </li></ul><ul><li>(McAlister, “A Cultural History of the War Without End” 441) </li></ul>
  11. 11. 9/11 and Trauma <ul><li>“All profound changes in consciousness, by their very nature, bring with them characteristic amnesias. Out of such oblivions, in specific historical circumstances, spring narratives.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities 204) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Reading trauma texts <ul><li>“A theory emerges focusing on the relationship of words and trauma, and helping us to ‘read the wound’ with the aid of literature.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Hartmann, “On Traumatic Knowledge and Literary Studies” 537) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Reading trauma texts <ul><li>Knowledge of trauma is composed of two contradictory elements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The traumatic event, registered rather than experienced. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The memory of the event, perpetually troped. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This can be considered as the difference between literal and figurative levels. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(Hartmann, “On Traumatic Knowledge and Literary Studies” 537) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Reading trauma texts <ul><li>The disjunction between experiencing and understanding, is what figurative language expresses. </li></ul><ul><li>(Hartmann, “On Traumatic Knowledge and Literary Studies” 539) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Reading trauma texts <ul><li>“One reason why the real does not appear directly, or why it is not expressed in a realistic mode, is that trauma can include a rupture of the symbolic order. [...] Fantasy has entered to repair a breach – not so much a breach of the symbolic as between the symbolic and the individual. ” </li></ul><ul><li>(Hartmann, “On Traumatic Knowledge and Literary Studies” 542) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Reading trauma texts <ul><li>“It heightens knowledge by symbolic means, but its realism and its symbolic pattern are kept in a tension that is not entirely on the side of disclosure.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Hartmann, “On Traumatic Knowledge and Literary Studies” 543) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Reading trauma texts <ul><li>“The symbolic, in this sense, is not a denial of literal or referential but its uncanny intensification.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Hartmann, “On Traumatic Knowledge and Literary Studies” 546) </li></ul>
  18. 18. Reading trauma texts <ul><li>“But instead of seeking premature knowledge, it [trauma theory] stays longer in the negative and allows the disturbances of language and mind the quality of time we give to literature.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Hartmann, “On Traumatic Knowledge and Literary Studies” 546) </li></ul>
  19. 19. Don DeLillo <ul><li>American novelist from the Bronx. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>White Noise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Underworld </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Falling Man </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Themes of consumerism, media, terror. </li></ul>
  20. 20. The Falling Man Photo: Richard Drew
  21. 21. Don DeLillo, Falling Man <ul><li>Disintegrating marriage. </li></ul><ul><li>The impact of terrorism and the images that followed. </li></ul><ul><li>The figure of the falling man. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Paul Auster <ul><li>Born in Newark, lives in Brooklyn. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New York Trilogy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Moon Palace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Man in the Dark </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Themes of coincidence, loss of language, metafiction, loss of identity </li></ul>
  23. 23. Paul Auster, Man in the Dark <ul><li>Alternative history. </li></ul><ul><li>Metafiction – the relationship between reader, author and fiction. </li></ul><ul><li>Civil war and New York secession. </li></ul>

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