Key Concepts in Trauma from LaCapra

Foundational Trauma: the sense tha traumatic events in the past may be adopted and internalized in such a way that “recovery” or “getting over it” is seen to “dishonor” the trauma, or as a betrayal to the victims.  Thus, the identification with that past experience of trauma becomes foundational in the personal or collective identity.…

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…

Life Writing as Reinforcement of the “materialistic and narcissistic subject”

Sarah Allen addresses the ongoing critique of life writing as a genre that doesn’t actually challenge students to change their views on the world.  She notes the prevalent fear among teachers that the life writing essays only contribute the materialistic mindset of consumer society: No doubt, this is part of the reason behind writing teachers’ suspicions…

Persepolis changed my views on Iran

We’ve seen so much fear and misunderstanding about the nuclear deal with Iran, especially Mike Huckabee’s comment on “leading Israel to the oven.”  I’m guessing that many of these commentators have not read Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, or Mark Bowden’s Guests of the Ayatollah.  Those books personalized the people of Iran for me (especially Persepolis).  Also…