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323. Trauma, Memory, Vulnerability

Friday, 10 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Chicago IX, Sheraton Chicago

A linked session arranged in conjunction with the The Presidential Forum: Vulnerable Times

Presiding: Susan Rubin Suleiman, Harvard Univ.

1. "Trauma Theory for Implicated Subjects," Michael Rothberg, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

Michael Rothberg's Annotation:
The dominant scene of trauma theory has been one of victimization, and the figures who most frequently populate its landscape have been victims and perpetrators. Trauma theory’s victim-perpetrator imaginary comes with several interconnected risks: it tends to polarize and purify the relation between victims and perpetrators, evacuate the field of other crucial subject positions, and model violence on a small-scale, decontextualized scene, even when it takes on large-scale historical events such as the Holocaust. To avoid these pitfalls, I argue, we need to supplement our familiar categories with concepts of implication and implicated subjects that help us better capture the conditions of possibility of violence and suggest different routes for opposing it.

2. "Cyberpoetics and Cryptopolitics: Facebook Pages as Memory Portals," Ananya Jahanara Kabir, King's Coll. London

3. "Embodying Postconflict Memories: Teatro Testimonial in Chile," Maria José Contreras, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

4. "Culture of Memory and Human Rights: New Constellations," Andreas A. Huyssen, Columbia Univ.

Responding: Susan Rubin Suleiman

Session Description:

Bringing vulnerability to bear on the politics of trauma and memory studies, the session will illustrate new constellations in the field. Looking at memory’s multidirectional and global circulation—from Europe to East Asia and Latin America—papers will engage embodiment, performance, and digital media, as well as complicity and human rights.

Related Sessions:


  • Comparative Literature – Twentieth and Twenty-First Century

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