Frontmatter

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Title Page

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Copryright Page

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

As usual, there are many people to thank for help in writing this book. To start with, I want to thank my erstwhile Stony Brook colleague, Ban Wang, with whom I taught the first course on trauma at Stony Brook in 1997. Ban’s quick intelligence and critical appreciation of trauma studies, then just emerging, ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-23

This book is about the impact of trauma both on individuals and on entire cultures or nations, and about the need to share and “translate” such traumatic impact. My study of trauma and its cultural politics opens with reference to 9/11 because the catastrophe offers insight into some of the book’s main themes, ...

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Chapter 1. "Why Trauma Now?": Freud and Trauma Studies

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pp. 24-41

Trauma is often seen as inherently linked to modernity. Kevin Newmark, for instance, drawing upon Walter Benjamin’s groundbreaking work, stresses the break in consciousness that modernity represents, as “it occurred historically to interrupt once and for all the unified structure of what we continue to call ‘traditional’ experience” (238). ..

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Chapter 2. Memory as Testimony in World War II: Freud, Duras, and Kofman

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pp. 42-65

I have argued that the model of trauma as dissociation in individuals involves too rigid a view of what happens to memory in extreme situations. Research by scholars working on memory has been helpful in foregrounding the dangers of holding too inflexibly to one version of brain circuitry as regards ...

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Chapter 3. Melodrama and Trauma: Displacement in Hitchcock's Spellbound

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pp. 66-86

This chapter investigates cultural trauma, and argues that politics intervenes in how such trauma is “managed.” How is collective trauma translated across different groups with differing relationships to a traumatic event? May cinema, in its classical and dominant Hollywood form, “translate” an event for a culture, ...

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Chapter 4. Vicarious Trauma and "Empty" Empathy: Media Images of Rwanda and the Iraq War

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pp. 87-100

While prior chapters have focused on different techniques film directors or authors used in representing a particular mode of trauma, here I contribute to film studies first by using data from interviews with trauma therapists to illuminate what happens to spectators of traumatic events in popular media; ...

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Chapter 5. "Translating" Trauma in Postcolonial Contexts: Indigeneity on Film

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pp. 101-121

In focusing on translation in this chapter as yet another modality for sharing trauma, I build upon ways in which trauma has been discussed hitherto. I move from studying the pattern of violence and its ensuing effects, to exploring translators who mediate across difference. My effort may be seen as itself an act of translation ...

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Chapter 6. The Ethics of Witnessing: Maya Deren and Tracey Moffatt

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pp. 122-135

Building on discussion of documentary films representing “testimonies” of indigenous women in chapter 5, this chapter explores to what degree an ethics of witnessing involves different psychic mechanisms and aesthetic strategies than those studied earlier. How should one differentiate between empathic reactions, ...

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Epilogue. "Wounded New York": Rebuilding and Memorials to 9/11

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pp. 136-148

This book ends, as it began, with 9/11 and its aftermath. The great yawning crematorium at the end of Manhattan continues to fester like a sore without bandages or healing salve. The great pit can be watched from inside the spacious Winter Garden, increasingly the site to which relatives of victims return ...

Notes

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pp. 149-170

Works Cited

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pp. 171-180

Index

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pp. 181-192

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About the Author

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pp. 193-194

E. Ann Kaplan is a professor of English and comparative literary and cultural studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she also founded and directs the Humanities Institute. She was recently the president of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. ...