Alcoff and Gray-Rosendale: Survivor Discourse

Alcoff, Linda Martín and Laura Gray-Rosendale.  “Survivor Discourse: Transgression or Recuperation?”  Getting a Life: Everyday Uses of Autobiography.  Ed. Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson.  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1996.  198-225.  Print. Dangers of Confessional Testimony Alcoff and Gray-Rosedale are looking at the ways in which confessional testimonies are often appropriated by hegemonic forces in order…

Autoethnography – Ellis, Adams, and Bochner

Ellis, Carolyn, Tony E. Adams, and Arthur P. Bochner.  “Autoethnography: An Overview.”  FQS 12.1, Art. 10 (2011).     “A researcher uses tenets of autobiography and ethnography to do and write autoethnography.  Thus, as a method, autoethnography is both process and product” (Sec. 1 History). In the history section, Ellis, Adams, and Bochner provide a nice introduction to postmodernism and…

Allegiance to Social Identity

“Allegiance,” as I’m seeing it, is about a deeper affinity that mere alliance, and it’s a bit different from relationship.  Relationship would be that your life (or fate, or destiny) is tied to the life of another.  A child has a relationship with parents, a CEO has a relationship with the corporation.  But relationship does…

Personal Narratives and Self-Help

Perhaps one of the most important genre conventions of self help books is the personal narrative. In some cases, the personal narrative is used to describe the authors past life, past mistakes, and past successes – this personal narrative is meant as a kind of resume to support the author’s position as an authority figure.…

Life Writing Authorizes Trauma

Maurice Stevens points out how trauma has long fallen on gendered and racial lines.  The litigious nature of traumatic experience constrains the resulting “in group.”  In the past, railroad companies would employ lawyers in the effort to avoid blame by reducing the number of individuals who could be considered injured (CITATION Stevens) – likewise, Euro-Americans have…

The Rhetoric of Trauma

Trauma is by no means “purely rhetorical” – there is the documented fact of experiences that erode the efficacy of memory.  But some people, I think, see trauma only as rhetorical.  They imitate the narratives of trauma survivors through fabricated or hyperbolized autobiography. I don’t know whether these acts are an indication of a complete lack…

Identification vs Historicism: Suspension of Disbelief, Promotion of Ideology

LaCapra describes the difference between “writing trauma” and “writing about trauma” (186).  He raises a question about the film Shoah, asking whether Polish resistance to the Hocaust was excluded because the speaker was too detached and not actively reliving his experiences (“writing about trauma”), or if instead the documentary can now be critiqued for failing…