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.…

Memory Keeping and Ideological Resistance: Constructing Intimate Social Narratives

Berlant’s intimate publics and Perreault’s autography can both be seen as stages of memory keeping.  But memories carry historical and ideological weight – thus, “memory” is inherently rhetorical and political.  Memories of the past are incorporated into the cultural metanarrative of group identity, and these memories shift with time as the metanarrative “recall” adapts the…

Hiroshima podcast on Public Radio

pri.org/hiroshima- a podcast addressing the trauma of the atomic bomb.  Also addresses the mental health considerations.  (And don’t forget the severely constrained Smithsonian exhibit.)  I’m especially interested in the concept of the memory keepers – those who were not there for the bombing, but who carry forward the memory of family members who were.  But there…

Pathology: the Account of Suffered Experience

From Wikipedia article on pathology: Pathology (from the Ancient Greek roots of pathos (πάθος), meaning “experience” or “suffering”, and -logia (-λογία), “an account of”) is a significant component of the causal study of disease and a major field in modern medicine and diagnosis. In my reading, I’m finding this trend where scholars pathologize the attitudes…

Montaigne, autography, and “knowing”

In discussing Montaigne’s Essais, Spellmeyer describes an approach to knowledge that is very close to Jeanne Perreault’s autography.  “Montaigne’s real concern is not knowledge proper, but the relationship between individuals and the conventions by which their experience is defined and contained” (qtd. in Allen 9).  Allen subsequently describes this as “a fruitful way of thinking about…

Public Awareness vs Individual Therapy

The women’s liberation movement has demonstrated repeatedly to the mental health profession that consciousness raising has often been more beneficial and empowering to women than psychotherapy.  In particular, the public revelation of the many and ancient sexual secrets of women (orgasm, rape, abortion) may have contributed far more toward the liberation of women than the…