Scars and Wounds: Trauma on Film in National and International Contexts

We are inviting proposals for chapters of an edited volume based on a variety of responses to the connections between trauma, nation and film. We are looking for studies associated with physical, psychological, structural, infrastructural, cultural and economic trauma, and the ways in which these are represented in film, including documentary and television.

Cinematic representations of trauma are often analysed in the context of specific nations or theoretical frameworks, such as genocide, memory and psychoanalysis. For example, E. Ann Kaplan’s Trauma Culture (2005) begins from a  psychoanalytical premise, while  Roger Luckhurst’s The Trauma Question (2008) deals with trauma on film in the context of cultural politics whilst paying attention to psychiatric and legal developments. Ewa Mazierska’s European Cinema and Intertextuality (2011) focuses specifically on history, memory and politics within European contexts. Trauma is often located, via the aforementioned frameworks, in specific locations and times (for example the Holocaust, the two World Wars from a European-American perspective and, more recently, 9-11). Such approaches have opened up innovative and insightful pathways into the critical treatment of trauma on film. This project welcomes both original turns in such analysis and the extension of the debates on filmic representations of trauma to national contexts and historical events that have received much less critical attention.

Our focus is global and encompasses the 20th and 21st centuries. It includes cinematic responses to such events as the ‘Arab Spring’, genocide in Rwanda, war in the Far East, the recent economic crash in Europe and dictatorships in Latin America and Europe. These areas are illustrative but by no means prescriptive.

We are interested in papers which consider but are not limited to:

The representation of both the individual and group experience of trauma – and the relationship between these -  on a local, national and/or transnational level.

Politicisation of trauma: the depathologising, institutionalising and instrumentalisation of trauma.

The ways in which trauma is exploited for commercial gain in cinema.

Films that are non-canonical and that therefore offer alternative takes on the representation of trauma.

Trauma and congnition, including the representation and repurcussions of, inter alia, amnesia, hypermnesia, memory, inherited trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and disassociation.

Transnational approaches to the themes.

Aesthetics of trauma.

Ethical debates concerning trauma and film.

The representation of the effects on the agents – or perpetrators - as well as the victims of trauma in film.

The relationship between truth and reconciliation processes and trauma.

Any new theoretical and critical frameworks which illuminate the representation of trauma.

Please send 200-300 word abstract and a brief biography to Nick Hodgin ([log in to unmask]) and Amit Thakkar ([log in to unmask]) by Friday April 25th 2014.

Dr Nick Hodgin
Lecturer in German Studies
Director of Postgraduate Studies
Department of European Languages and Cultures
Lancaster, UK
Tel: 44 (0) 1524 594068

The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
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