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Interrogating trauma: Towards a critical trauma studies

Traverso, A. and Broderick, M. (2010) Interrogating trauma: Towards a critical trauma studies. Continuum, 24 (1). pp. 3-15.

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In a French arthouse film an Algerian man draws out a large kitchen knife and cuts his own throat. In a short Sri Lankan art video the goddess of destruction, Kali, and a woman soldier surface from the ocean and walk towards a small seaside village. Shaky images of a video documentary bear witness to the muddied streets and flooded buildings of a poor, black neighbourhood of the Southern United States. In a low-budget Australian film written and directed by an Indigenous filmmaker two homeless, petrol-sniffing Aboriginal youths walk aimlessly on the streets of an outback town. We encounter the modern world and its history via depictions of catastrophe, atrocity, suffering and death. During the past 100 years or so, traumatic historical events and experiences have been re-imagined and re-enacted for us to witness over and over by constantly evolving media and art forms. Perhaps due to the ubiquity and multiplication of such images and narratives in modern and post-modern culture, questions about the impulse to behold and depict both the suffering of others and of the self, as well as more general questions about the ontological status of the representation of trauma, have increasingly been raised within intersecting, inter-disciplinary fields of study over the past two decades.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Media, Communication and Culture
Publisher: Routledge
Copyright: (c) 2010 Taylor & Francis
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