TRAUMA: THEORY AND EXPERIENCE

ANTH 206a
(Cross listed with Cultural Production)
Dr. Ellen Schattschneider
Spring 2008
Wednesdays 2:00-5:00 p.m.

Brandeis University

Catalog description: This graduate seminar explores the intellectual history of the concept of “trauma” and considers the salience of the concept for contemporary social and cultural theory and for research on the aftermath of mass violence, state terror, genocide and torture.

Longer description:

In recent years, the analysis of social trauma has become a major concern in anthropology and other human sciences. This graduate seminar explores the intellectual history of the concept of trauma and considers the salience of the concept for contemporary social and cultural theory. We give particular attention to how scholars have theorized the experience and aftermath of mass violence, state terror, genocide and torture. In what respects can insights developed from clinical and psychoanalytic work on individual trauma legitimately be applied to collective processes of traumatization, memorialization and recovery? How is fieldwork to be conducted in post-conflict societies, often under conditions of extreme duress and social instability? What methodological toolkits are best suited to the study of transitional justice institutions and their actual impact on traumatized communities? We also explore ethnographic, literary, cinematic and artistic strategies for “capturing” or representing experiences of trauma and consider the ethical challenges of responsibly witnessing and studying histories and legacies of crimes against humanity.

Readings include:

Sigmund Freud. The Interpretation of Dreams

Sigmund Freud. Beyond the Pleasure Principle.

Melanie Klein, The Psycho-analysis of Children (1932)

Kansteiner W. Genealogy of a category mistake: a critical intellectual history of the cultural trauma metaphor Rethinking History, Volume 8, Number 2, June, 2004 , pp. 193-221

Cathy Caruth (ed.) Trauma: Explorations in Memory.

Sudhir Kakar. The Colors of Violence: Cultural Identities, Religion and Conflict. (University of Chicago Press, 1996)

Veena Das. Mirrors of Violence: Communities, Riots and Survivors in South Asia.

Amitav Ghosh. Shadowlines.

Veena Das, ed. Remaking a World: Violence, Social Suffering, and Recovery (California, 2001)

Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World

Broz, Svetlana. Good People in an Evil Time: Portraits of Complicity and Resistance in the Bosnian War. (edited by Laurie Kain Hart) Other Press, 2004.

Shoshana Felman. The Juridical Unconscious: Trials and Traumas in the Twentieth Century
(Harvard University Press, 2002)

Antonius C. G. M. Robben. Political Violence and Trauma in Argentina (U Penn)

Igarashi, Yoshikuni. Bodies of Memory: Narratives of War in Postwar Japanese Culture, 1945–1970 (Princeton University Press, 2000)

Rosalind Shaw. Displacing Violence: Making Pentecostal Memory in Postwar Sierra Leone. Cultural Anthropology February 2007, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 66-93

Charles Briggs, Mediating Infanticide: Theorizing Relations between Narrative and Violence, Cultural Anthropology 22:3,315-356