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Suffering and survival: considering trauma, trauma studies and living on

Dawson, Mark (2010) Suffering and survival: considering trauma, trauma studies and living on. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Referring to the academic phenomenon of 'Trauma Studies', this thesis argues that if it is possible to 'speak about and speak through‘ trauma (Caruth, 1996), such a double operation can only occur through a writing which, paradoxically, touches on what exceeds it. To structure this argument, the thesis proposes a distinction between 'Trauma Studies‘ – as a discipline or field of academic study – and a trauma study; the latter being a writing (on) trauma which suffers and survives as an inscription of the traumatic event, an event which nevertheless remains irreducible to the text 'as such‘. Moreover, by referring to Jacques Derrida‘s consideration of the term 'survivre‘, a quasi-originary textual dimension which 'survives‘ or 'lives on‘ the border between life and death, I suggest that if a trauma study is to 'take place‘, it must affirm this essentially 'spectral‘ dimension as its very condition. Following Derrida‘s suggestion that all events are in a sense traumatic, I further argue that a trauma study must write (on) the traumatic event in terms of the force and potentiality of the future – what I refer to as the 'might‘ of what remains to come. This thesis, therefore, considers a trauma study in terms of 'living on‘, a textual dimension which suffers and survives the 'might‘ of what remains to come. Chapter One reads Chris Marker‘s film La Jetée, Chapter Two Roland Barthes‘s reading of Stendhal, and Chapter Three considers Hélène Cixous‘s Le jour où je n‟étais pas là. These chapters read how a trauma study remains a possibility of the im-possible, an experimental writing which survives or lives on the precarious border between experience and study. The thesis concludes by suggesting that, in order to write (on) what remains traumatic, the (im)possibility of a trauma study is determined by a certain feminine 'might‘.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications (Leeds) > Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2011 14:15
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 11:24
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1693

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