A volume in the Contemporary Theory Series edited by Frances Restuccia
An interdisciplinary collection of essays that critically reflect on the value and limits of psychoanalysis for conceptualizing traumatic affect.
A page-turner for anyone even remotely drawn to the subject of trauma, Traumatizing Theory includes essays that go beyond psychoanalysis in rethinking the cultural significance of traumatic anxiety, melancholy, and the representation of suffering in testimony, self-narration, and politics.
Traumatizing Theory is unmistakably on the cutting edge and moves trauma theory into a new postmodern phase. Karyn Ball’s introduction reframes debates about psychoanalysis within trauma studies. Bettina Bergo’s essay revisits the historical development of hysteria as Freud’s model for traumatic anxiety in both men and women. Dorothea Olkowski also focuses on traumatic anxiety, but problematizes Freud’s masculinist and scientistic premises. Sarah Murphy and Susannah Radstone examine the disciplinary effects of public confession and testimony while Ball and Kligerman critique Deleuze’s post-psychoanalytic Cinema books and Gerhard Richter’s haunted October 18, 1977 Cycle, respectively, as testimonies to the latent impact of traumatic history. For Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky, philosophy serves ineluctably as a medium of testimony in Sarah Kofman’s autobiographical writings about ambivalence toward her biological Jewish mother and guilty love for the French woman who adopted Sarah during the Nazi occupation. Drucilla Cornell also explores conflicted self-narrations among transnationally adopted children and their parents. The collection concludes with essays by Juliet Flower-MacCannell, Lauren Berlant, and John Mowitt on the politics of traumatic identification in the public sphere.
“The essays in TRAUMATIZING THEORY contribute to various facets of trauma studies, particularly feminism, queer theory, aesthetics, and politics. These essays offer moments of great insight and clarity at the intersections of trauma studies and…. push forward cutting-edge discussions in psychoanalysis and trauma.” —Kelly Oliver, W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University and author of several books including THE COLONIZATION OF PSYCHIC SPACE: A PSYCHOANALYTIC SOCIAL THEORY THEORY OF OPPRESSION
“Diverse and wide-ranging, these essays by emerging young scholars and well-established figures address topics from art, philosophy, and politics across the French, German, and American landscape, with a special focus on the affective aftermath of traumatic events. A particular merit of the book is its ability to deploy trauma theory while at the same time subjecting it to an internal critique.” —Charles Shepherdson, author of VITAL SIGNS: NATURE, CULTURE, PSYCHOANALYSIS
About the Editor:
Karyn Ball is an associate professor specializing in critical theory and literary theory in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. She has edited special issues of Cultural Critique and Parallax. Her book, Disciplining the Holocaust, is forthcoming from the State University of New York Press.