July 14, 2024

Trauma Studies and the Literature of the U.S. South

Abstract: "The history of the U.S. South is one undeniably littered with traumatic acts, laws, and legitimized behaviors: racially biased laws that relegated Blacks to the status of disposable bodies denied by White culture; the regulated, segregated spaces of Jim Crow; and brutal, repetitive acts of violence that include lynching, incest, rape, and murder. This essay assesses the role that trauma studies, as an interdisciplinary area of investigation that came to prominence in the early-to-mid-1990s, has played in assessing the ways that injury is troped, represented, and repeated in southern literature and its criticism. This essay first outlines the history of trauma as a theory, drawing attention to the fissures within the concept as it has developed over time, while also surveying the surge of works published under this rubric. The essay then assesses how trauma studies, with its attention to the nuances of testimony, the interlocked nature of personal and political traumas, and the importance of collective and cultural perspectives, has come to influence criticism on the literature of the U.S. South."
Lisa Hinrichsen
Literature Compass, Vol. 10, No. 8
Date Added November 16, 2016
Date Modifed October 17, 2017
Collection UVA scholarship on sexual violence, 1974-

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