10 Trauma and Representation.docx

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Communication, Culture and Technology
Neil Narine

10 Trauma and Representation Theories of Trauma: What is Trauma?  Contradiction o We must represent trauma o We cannot ever really represent trauma o Example: The Holocaust (1939-1945)  Film is the illusion that gives authenticity. However, there is always some degree of manipulation and distortion  The Holocaust the most difficult story to put on film. This is because it is only understood by people who lived through the camps  It is never going to be as bad as it was, you will never be able to portray it. The dilemma is, should you not portray it o Imaginary Witness  Films would be controversial because sometimes they want to show a relief and more palatable, however the truth is much less approachable  What is ‘Trauma’? o Frued’s analyses of trauma began with his studies of ‘hysteria’ with Josef Breurer in 1900 o The female patents had often suffered a trauma: didn’t speak, acted out, etc. (although the sexist profession likely ignored their needs)  Often they have been abused, locked up somewhere, many number of things happened to them o Frueld’s work on trauma developed in his work with victims of ‘shell-shock’ during and after World War I o ‘Shell shocked’ patients from the war (injured by explosions physically or mentally) exhibited similar symptoms o Soldiers  They would not remember, or would repeat partial accounts, resist revisiting the events, act out when questioned, have phobias, have uncontrollable flashbacks, hallucinations and nightmares  Repetition is part of being traumatized  World War I: Horrors of modernity o Trauma and Representation  The patients often could not retell the events ‘accurately’ o Absence  Being ‘too difficult’ to face, the trauma would reside as an absence – of memory, or facts, it would seem like it didn’t happen to the patient  Trauma seems to defy representation o Rwandan Genocide (1994)  Characterized by an absence of photographs and reports as it was happening  Western media failed to document in time  Only the aftermath is depicted widely (Allan Thompson 2007)  Wrote a book about  Hotel Rwanda (2004), Shooting Dogs (2006), Shake Hands with the Devil (2007)  Rwandan Genocide and Gen. Dallaire  Western forces (UN) were prevented from acting quickly  US wanted no or little intervention (the Black Hawk Down even happened one year prior to Somalia)  Two Traumas in Africa
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