Using models of individual psychic trauma
such as PTSD-or, drawing on Freud, what we might call the "accident model" of trauma (4)-to examine the effects of colonial oppression on Native communities is obviously fraught with difficulties; yet these models have been put to exactly this purpose.
It is undeniable that psychic trauma
is an important part of what happened on 9/11 and a novel dealing with the events and their aftermath should not ignore the domestic aspects of the tragedy.
Their arguments are based on the problematic premises of the psychoanalytic understanding of trauma, because not only do they use case studies of psychic trauma
as the springboard for discussions on the social condition, but also invest highly in the restrictedness of representation as a natural outcome of cultural trauma.
Ruth Ley's Trauma: A Genealogy charts the history of the category of psychic trauma
compellingly, from its origins in the 1860s (2000, 3) and shows how the concept gained significant social application after World War I (83-85) prior to its appearance in humanistic thinking and secular exegetical traditions of the late twentieth century in the aftermath of the Third Reich.
Everywhere the air is dowsed with sulfur, a consequence of the mining community and O'Donnell's psychic trauma
. From the "darkened parlor" of the house where she grew up, we hear about a malfunctioning "furnace that coughed deep in the cellar" ("Northern Lights").
The general nonprofit sector was mobilized after the shooting, particularly mental health organizations that deal with community-level psychic trauma
(5) Because performances, like events that lead to psychic trauma
, are ephemeral, they share the potential to change witnesses into activists motivated by the haunting effects of traumatic memory.
Like Barnes herself, Caselli wants to discourage biographical readings of her subject's oeuvre; or, rather more precisely, she wants "to read personal documents" not as the road to some truth or the revelation of psychic trauma
(130), as critics such as Mary Lynn Broe and Phillip Herring have done, but as simply another set of texts that employ sophisticated representational strategies not at all guaranteeing any revelation of the "real." On one hand, I applaud this move; personal letters and other similar artifacts are indeed not transparent accounts of life.
Evolving through various iterations in both combat and domestic contexts, psychological trauma was long freighted with a negative moral loading: sufferers of psychic trauma
were cowards, were malingering, or had some preexisting weakness that made them unable to handle the rigors of war or other stressful situations.
She alleges in her suit that "she witnessed the murder of her daughter" and said she "sustained severe emotional distress, shock and psychic trauma
which have resulted in discernible bodily injury."
Such criticism, she suggests in chapter 1, has for too long interpreted bodily coverings--skin, clothing, etc.--as mere superficial ciphers for the raw, improperly repressed psychic trauma
that allegedly lies at the core of all Gothic texts.
These ruminations matter because they raise the crucial question of where psychic trauma