Languages of Trauma: History, Memory, and Media

Edited by Peter Leese, Julia Barbara Köhne, and Jason Crouthamel

© 2021

This volume traces the distinct cultural languages in which individual and collective forms of trauma are expressed in diverse variations, including oral and written narratives, literature, comic strips, photography, theatre, and cinematic images. The central argument is that traumatic memories are frequently beyond the sphere of medical, legal, or state intervention. To address these different, often intertwined modes of language, the contributors provide a variety of disciplinary approaches to foster innovative debates and provoke new insights.

Prevailing definitions of trauma can best be understood according to the cultural and historical conditions within which they exist. Languages of Trauma explores what this means in practice by scrutinizing varied historical moments from the First World War onwards and particular cultural contexts from across Europe, the United States, Asia, and Africa – striving to help decolonize the traditional Western-centred history of trauma, dissolving it into multifaceted transnational histories of trauma cultures.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 424 pages
  • Illustrations: 43
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.1in x 9.3in
Product Formats

SaveUP TO 9239

Book Formats

SKU# SP006590

  • PUBLISHED MAR 2021

    From: $71.25

    Regular Price: $95.00

    ISBN 9781487508968
  • PUBLISHED MAR 2021

    From: $71.25

    Regular Price: $95.00

Quick Overview

Languages of Trauma explores how, and for what purposes, trauma is expressed in historical sources and visual media.

Languages of Trauma: History, Memory, and Media

Edited by Peter Leese, Julia Barbara Köhne, and Jason Crouthamel

© 2021

This volume traces the distinct cultural languages in which individual and collective forms of trauma are expressed in diverse variations, including oral and written narratives, literature, comic strips, photography, theatre, and cinematic images. The central argument is that traumatic memories are frequently beyond the sphere of medical, legal, or state intervention. To address these different, often intertwined modes of language, the contributors provide a variety of disciplinary approaches to foster innovative debates and provoke new insights.

Prevailing definitions of trauma can best be understood according to the cultural and historical conditions within which they exist. Languages of Trauma explores what this means in practice by scrutinizing varied historical moments from the First World War onwards and particular cultural contexts from across Europe, the United States, Asia, and Africa – striving to help decolonize the traditional Western-centred history of trauma, dissolving it into multifaceted transnational histories of trauma cultures.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 424 pages
  • Illustrations: 43
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.1in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    "Languages of Trauma provides an introduction to a different strand of trauma theory, outlining critiques of earlier generations in the history of the discipline and analysing new avenues and approaches currently trending. With its scope, ambition, and interdisciplinarity, this book provides a major contribution to research."


    Aris Mousoutzanis, Principal Lecturer in Film and Screen Studies, University of Brighton

    "Languages of Trauma is a valuable addition to the growing field of trauma studies, most notably for its willingness to engage with topics in a contemporary timeframe, to put cultural representation alongside clinical understandings, to consider the perpetrator as well as the victim/survivor, and to go beyond the Anglo-American experience of the world wars."


    Elizabeth Roberts-Pedersen, Senior Lecturer in History, University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Author Information

    Peter Leese is an associate professor in the Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies at the University of Copenhagen.


    Jason Crouthamel is a professor in the Department of History at Grand Valley State University.


    Julia Barbara Köhne is FONTE visiting professor in the Faculty of Culture, Social Sciences and Education at Humboldt-University Berlin.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction: Languages of Trauma
    Peter Leese, Julia Barbara Köhne, and Jason Crouthamel

    Part One: Words and Images

    1. “A perfect hell of a night which we can never forget”: Narratives of Trauma in the Private Writings of British and Irish Nurses in the First World War
    Bridget E. Keown

    2. Religious Language in German Soldiers’ Narratives of Traumatic Violence, 1914–1918
    Jason Crouthamel

    3. Languages of the Wound: Finnish Soldiers’ Bodies as Sites of Shock during World War II
    Ville Kivimäki

    4. Efim Segal Shell-shocked Sergeant: Red Army Veterans and the Expression and Representation of Trauma Memories
    Robert Dale

    5. The Falling Man: Resisting and Resistant Visual Media in Art Spiegelman’s In the Shadow of No Towers
    Jennifer Anderson Bliss

    Part Two: Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts

    6. Performing Songs and Staging Theatre Performances: Working through the Trauma of the 1965 Indonesian Mass Killings
    Dyah Pitaloka and Hans Pols

    7. Encounters with Some Things Are Difficult to Say, Re-Membered
    Katrina Bugaj

    8. Performing Memory in an Interdependent Body
    Emily Mendelsohn

    9. Memory and Trauma: Two Contemporary Art Projects
    Maj Hasager

    Part Three: Normalizations of Trauma

    10. Between Social Criticism and Epistemological Critique: Critical Theory and the Normalization of Trauma
    Ulrich Koch

    11. The New Normal: Trauma as Successfully Failed Communication in Nurse Betty
    Thomas Elsaesser

    12. The Exploitation of Trauma: (Mis-)Representations of Rape Victims in the War Film
    Marzena Sokołowska-Paryż

    Part Four: Representations in Film

    13. Translating Individual and Collective Trauma through Horror: The Case of George A. Romero’s Martin
    Adam Lowenstein

    14. Aesthetic Displays of Perpetrators in Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing: Post-Atrocity Perpetrator Symptoms, Re-enactments of Violence, and Perpetrator-Victim-Inversions
    Julia Barbara Köhne

    15. Perpetrator Trauma and Current American War Cinema
    Raya Morag

    Coda: Climate Trauma Reconsidered
    E. Ann Kaplan

Related Titles