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Eric Langenbacher

Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernan, eds., The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003)

Jan-Werner Müller, ed., Memory and Power in Post-War Europe: Studies in the Presence of the Past (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002)

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Maria Pia Di Bella

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Rina Dudai

This article examines representations of traumatic memory within the context of psychological and poetic domains by analyzing two films: Waltz with Bashir by Ari Folman (2008) and Cache (Hidden) by Michael Heneke (2005). These two films are coping with two events: the Sabra and Shatila's massacre that took place in Lebanon in 1982, and the 1961 massacre of Algerian demonstrators in Paris. In both events the films depict the intersection between private and collective traumatic memory. Analyzing the texts focuses especially on the arousing stage of the trauma from a long period of belatedness and is used as a model for questions referring to the act of translating the trauma concept from discourse of psychology to the poetic language of film.

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Aris Mousoutzanis

Michael Cunningham’s most recent novel, Specimen Days, was bound to be compared to his previous work, The Hours. Reviewers and readers alike could easily identify the numerous similarities between the two texts: both novels were made up of three narratives set at different historical periods but with very similar if not related characters and themes, and a major literary figure haunting their background – Virginia Woolf in The Hours and Walt Whitman in Specimen Days. Lucas, Catherine, and Simon are the three main characters of Cunningham’s latest novel, caught up in similar relationships across three different stories of death and rebirth, trauma and recovery, sacrifice and transcendence.Ahistorical fiction, a police crime thriller, and a science fiction text, the three stories are all set in New York, tied together with recurring symbols and motifs: a white porcelain bowl, a music box, a white horse, the date 21 June, the angel statue at Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain. For a novel that took its creator eight years to complete, Specimen Days seemed to some critics to be short of inspiration. Not only was the novel repeating themes, images, and characters within its own three novellas, but it was also repeating patterns from Cunningham’s previous book.

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Caroline Lamb

The homology between the fragmented body politic and its suffering physical bodies in Titus Andronicus seems to suggest that Shakespeare represents physical disability negatively: as corruption, disorder, incapacity. By relying upon a corporeal metaphor of fragmentation to characterise the political state of Rome, Shakespeare makes the traumatised or dismembered body bear a negative ideological burden; political inefficacy seems to be equated with the violated body. Inversely, and to the same effect, Titus and Lavinia's violated bodies seem to render their access to political and social agency difficult, if not impossible. However, at both the metaphorical and material level, Shakespeare endows the dis-abled body with the capacity to heal or adapt itself under the most extenuating circumstances. Overcoming physical barriers to communication and action, Titus and Lavinia enable themselves to enact revenge. This essay argues that the adaptability of the political and physical body in Titus suggests a potentially affirmative way of reconceptualising the physically incomplete body - not as a disabled entity but as a body that can suffer partial losses and still survive, succeed even, if its constituent parts form their own internally coherent body.

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Philippe Codde

This essay will examine the concept of third-generation trauma after the Holocaust and the ways in which Jewish American novelists seek to access, recreate and artistically represent (or 're-present') such a traumatic past that is by definition inaccessible. A striking feature in the novels by the latest generation of Jewish American writers - notably the work of Jonathan Safran Foer and Judy Budnitz - is the almost obsessive return to mythology and fairy tales in the literary recreation of their grandparents' era. My essay will argue that this is due to a commonality of purpose that characterizes and drives both mythology and fairy tales on the one hand, and the third generation's imaginative, postmemorial approach to the past on the other hand.

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Constance L. Mui

To many Sartreans, these accounts of the common physical and psychological responses to trauma reflect a familiar view of the self. For Sartre, the self is not an unchanging, underlying essence that guarantees personal identity over time; rather, it is an ongoing project that is founded on our being-in-the-world as embodied freedom, on our concrete relations with others, and, I would add, on our emotions. It thus appears that feminist writings on the effects of sexual trauma could benefit greatly from a careful reading or rereading of Sartrean ontology, even though Sartre himself has not, to my knowledge, related any aspect of his philosophy specifically to the problem of trauma. With this in mind, this essay attempts to work out, within the broader Sartrean ontological framework, a preliminary outline of a phenomenology of rape trauma, one that is based on a feminist consideration of Sartre's distinct but intertwined theories of freedom, embodiment, and the emotions. In this endeavor, an important point I hope to bring out is that even though Sartre has at best provided a rough sketch for his theory of the emotions, we can nevertheless glean from that sketch valuable insights that can both inform and illuminate our understanding of the effects of trauma.

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Lotte Meinert and Susan Reynolds Whyte

The interpretation of sensations and the recognition of symptoms of a sickness, as well as the movement to seek treatment, have long been recognised in medical anthropology as inherently social processes. Based on cases of HIV and trauma (PTSD) in Uganda, we show that even the first signs and sensations of sickness can be radically social. The sensing body can be a ‘social body’ – a family, a couple, a network – a unit that transcends the individual body. In this article, we focus on four aspects of the sociality of sensations and symptoms: mode of transmission, the shared experience of sensations/symptoms, differential recognition of symptoms, and the embodied sociality of treatment.