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…

Trauma and Attention: Fixing the Victim

Inflicting trauma – or sumy threatening to – is one way to force a victim’s attention onto the perpetrator/abuser.  But it’s selective, a very personal show, typically a private show for an audience of immediate family.  Think Julie Gregory’s experience in Sickened.

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…

Can Autography Overcome the Cycle of Trauma?

In the PBS documentary on Auschwitz, they juxtaposed the interviews of an SS guard and a partisan to show how neither side (decades after the war) felt regret about having killed. The SS guard said he thought he was protecting Germany from the Jews, and the partisan was fighting the Germans. Clearly, the partisan (I…