Trauma and the Memory of Politics

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 31, 2003 - Architecture - 265 pages
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In this interesting study, Jenny Edkins explores how we remember traumatic events such as wars, famines, genocides and terrorism, and questions the assumed role of commemorations as simply reinforcing state and nationhood. Taking examples from the World Wars, Vietnam, the Holocaust, Kosovo and September 11th, Edkins offers a thorough discussion of practices of memory such as memorials, museums, remembrance ceremonies, the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress and the act of bearing witness. She examines the implications of these commemorations in terms of language, political power, sovereignty and nationalism. She argues that some forms of remembering do not ignore the horror of what happened but rather use memory to promote change and to challenge the political systems that produced the violence of wars and genocides in the first place. This wide-ranging study embraces literature, history, politics and international relations, and makes a significant contribution to the study of memory.
 

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Contents

List of illustrations
xi
Preface
xiii
Introduction trauma violence and political community
1
The traumatic dimension of the political
9
Practices of trauma
16
Survivor memories and the diagnosis of trauma the Great War and Vietnam
20
Survivor memories 19141918
25
Memory and trauma time
29
Holocaust memorials
127
Dachau concentration camp memorial
135
Relics at Auschwitz
149
Narrative museums
153
Commercialisation denial and truth
165
Conclusion
171
Testimony and sovereign power after Auschwitz Holocaust witness and Kosovo refugees
175
Biopolitics of the camp
178

The diagnosis of trauma
42
Forgetting Vietnam
46
Disciplined memories
51
Conclusion
54
War memorials and remembrance the London Cenotaph and the Vietnam Wall
57
The Cenotaph
60
Flowers and wreathlaying
67
The Vietnam Wall
73
The things
84
Sacrificial memory bodies of state
91
Conclusion
108
Concentration camp memorials and museums Dachau and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum
111
The camp and the witness
183
Practices of testimony
189
Kosovo and the camp
195
Kosovo and testimony
205
Conclusion
211
Conclusion the return of the political the memory of politics
215
Landscapes of memory sites of resistance
217
September 11 New York and Washington
224
Conclusion
229
Bibliography
234
Index
250
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About the author (2003)

Jenny Edkins is Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Wales Aberystwyth. Her publications include Whose Hunger? Concepts of Famine, Practices of Aid (2000), Poststructuralism and International Relations: Bringing the Political Back In (1999) and, with Nalini Persram and Veronique Pin-Fat, Sovereignty and Subjectivity (1999).