Trauma Culture: The Politics of Terror and Loss in Media and Literature

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Rutgers University Press, 2005 - Performing Arts - 192 pages
2 Reviews
"This book will have significant impact in film and media studies because Kaplan so skillfully 'translates' the most interesting work done in trauma studies and takes it in new and original directions. It is illuminating, lucid, and persuasive." --Patrice Petro, author of Aftershocks of the New: Feminism and Film History "This book is an engaging read--a real page turner--not only because of its conversational style and beautiful prose but also because it addresses some of the most complex psychological issues facing our culture today." --Kelly Oliver, W. Alton Jones Professor, Vanderbilt University It may be said that every trauma is two traumas or ten thousand--depending on the number of people involved. How one experiences and reacts to an event is unique and depends largely on one's direct or indirect positioning, personal and psychic history, and individual memories. But equally important to the experience of trauma are the broader political and cultural contexts within which a catastrophe takes place and how it is "managed" by institutional forces, including the media. In Trauma Culture, E. Ann Kaplan explores the relationship between the impact of trauma on individuals and on entire cultures and nations. Arguing that humans possess a compelling need to draw meaning from personal experience and to communicate what happens to others, she examines the artistic, literary, and cinematic forms that are often used to bridge the individual and collective experiences. Case studies, including Sigmund Freud's Moses and Monotheism, Marguerite Duras's La Douleur, Sarah Kofman's Rue Ordener, Rue Labat, Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound, and Tracey Moffatt's Night Cries, reveal how empathy can be fostered without the sensationalistic element that typifies the media. From World War II to 9/11, this passionate study eloquently navigates the contentious debates surrounding trauma theory and persuasively advocates the responsible sharing and translating of catastrophe. E. Ann Kaplan is a professor of English at SUNY-Stony Brook, where she founded and directs the Humanities Instiute. She was recently the president of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - whitewavedarling - LibraryThing

Undoubtedly, the most useful portions of this book are Kaplan's careful connections between trauma theory (and language and stages associated with trauma) and the experiences of taking in media ... Read full review

Review: Trauma Culture: The Politics of Terror and Loss in Media and Literature

User Review  - Scott Harris - Goodreads

This recent addition otthe trauma literature approaches the issue predominantly from a perspective of cultural analysis - looking for traces of the impacts of trauma in writings, media and other ... Read full review


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About the author (2005)

E. Ann Kaplan is a professor of English, SUNY 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.

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