The Poetics and Politics of Hospitality in U.S. Literature and Culture explores hospitality in literature, language and cinema from a variety of methodological perspectives that illustrate the richness of American hospitality.
This volume addresses the construction and artistic representation of traumatic memories in the contemporary Western world from a variety of inter- and trans-disciplinarity critical approaches and perspectives, ranging from the cultural, political, historical, and ideological to the ethical and aesthetic, and distinguishing between individual, collective, and cultural traumas. The chapters introduce complementary concepts from diverse thinkers including Cathy Caruth, Jacques Derrida, Judith Butler, Homi Bhabha, Abraham and Torok, and Joyce Carol Oates; they also draw from fields of study such as Memory Studies, Theory of Affects, Narrative and Genre Theory, and Cultural Studies. Traumatic Memory and the Political, Economic, and Transhistorical Functions of Literature addresses trauma as a culturally embedded phenomenon and deconstructs the idea of trauma as universal, transhistorical, and abstract.
Trauma is defined as a sudden, potentially deadly experience, often leaving lasting, troubling memories. Traumatology (the study of trauma, its effects, and methods to modify effects) is exploding in terms of published works and expanding in terms of scope. Originally a narrow specialty within emergency medicine, the field now extends to trauma psychology, military psychiatry and behavioral health, post-traumatic stress and stress disorders, trauma social work, disaster mental health, and, most recently, the subfield of history and trauma, with sociohistorical examination of long-term effects and meanings of major traumas experienced by whole communities and nations, both natural (Pompeii, Hurricane Katrina) and man-made (the Holocaust, 9/11). One reason for this expansion involves important scientific breakthroughs in detecting the neurobiology of trauma that is connecting biology with human behavior, which in turn, is applicable to all fields involving human thought and response, including but not limited to psychiatry, medicine and the health sciences, the social and behavioral sciences, the humanities, and law. Researchers within these fields and more can contribute to a universal understanding of immediate and long-term consequences–both good and bad–of trauma, both for individuals and for broader communities and institutions. Trauma encyclopedias published to date all center around psychological trauma and its emotional effects on the individual as a disabling or mental disorder requiring mental health services. This element is vital and has benefited from scientific and professional breakthroughs in theory, research, and applications. Our encyclopedia certainly will cover this central element, but our expanded conceptualization will include the other disciplines and will move beyond the individual.
Contributions by Whitney Jordan Adams, Wendy Atkins-Sayre, Jason Edward Black, Patricia G. Davis, Cassidy D. Ellis, Megan Fitzmaurice, Michael L. Forst, Jeremy R. Grossman, Cynthia P. King, Julia M. Medhurst, Ryan Neville-Shepard, Jonathan M. Smith, Ashli Quesinberry Stokes, Dave Tell, and Carolyn Walcott Southern rhetoric is communication’s oldest regional study. During its initial invention, the discipline was founded to justify the study of rhetoric in a field of white male scholars analyzing significant speeches by other white men, yielding research that added to myths of Lost Cause ideology and a uniquely oratorical culture. Reconstructing Southern Rhetoric takes on the much-overdue task of reconstructing the way southern rhetoric has been viewed and critiqued within the communication discipline. The collection reveals that southern rhetoric is fluid and migrates beyond geography, is constructed in weak counterpublic formation against legitimated power, creates a region that is not monolithic, and warrants activism and healing. Contributors to the volume examine such topics as political campaign strategies, memorial and museum experiences, television and music influences, commemoration protests, and ethnographic experiences in the South. The essays cohesively illustrate southern identity as manifested in various contexts and ways, considering what it means to be a part of a region riddled with slavery, Jim Crow laws, and other expressions of racial and cultural hierarchy. Ultimately, the volume initiates a new conversation, asking what southern rhetorical critique would be like if it included the richness of the southern culture from which it came.
This book studies human rights discourse across a variety of graphic novels, both fiction and non-fiction, originating in different parts of the world, from India to South Africa, Sarajevo to Vietnam, with texts on the Holocaust, the Partition of the Indian subcontinent, the Rwandan and Sarajevan genocides, the Vietnam War, comfort women in World War II and the Civil Rights movement in the USA, to mention a few. The book demonstrates the emergence of the ‘universal’ subject of human rights, despite the variations in contexts. It shows how war, rape, genocide, abuse, social iniquity, caste and race erode personhood in multiple ways in the graphic novel, which portrays the construction of vulnerable subjects, the cultural trauma of collectives, the crisis and necessity of witnessing, and resilience-resistance through specific representational and aesthetic strategies. It covers a large number of authors and artists: Joe Sacco, Joe Kubert, Matt Johnson-Walter Pleece, Guy Delisle, Appupen, Thi Bui, Olivier Kugler and others. Through a study of these vastly different authors and styles, the book proposes that the graphic novel as a form is perfectly suited to the ‘culture’ and the lingua franca of human rights due to its amenability to experimentation and the sheer range within the form. The book will appeal to scholars in comics studies, human rights studies, visual culture studies and to the general reader with an interest in these fields.
Writers as diverse as Carolivia Herron, Charles Johnson, Paule Marshall, Toni Morrison, and Derek Walcott have addressed the history of slavery in their literary works. In this groundbreaking new book, Arlene R. Keizer contends that these writers theorize the nature and formation of the black subject and engage established theories of subjectivity in their fiction and drama by using slave characters and the condition of slavery as focal points. In this book, Keizer examines theories derived from fictional works in light of more established theories of subject formation, such as psychoanalysis, Althusserian interpellation, performance theory, and theories about the formation of postmodern subjects under late capitalism. Black Subjects shows how African American and Caribbean writers' theories of identity formation, which arise from the varieties of black experience re-imagined in fiction, force a reconsideration of the conceptual bases of established theories of subjectivity. The striking connections Keizer draws between these two bodies of theory contribute significantly to African American and Caribbean Studies, literary theory, and critical race and ethnic studies.
Through the examination of literary works by twentieth and twenty-first century American authors, this book shows how literature can allow us to cope with difficult periods of history (slavery, the Great Depression, the AIDS crisis, etc.) and give hope for a brighter future when those realities are confronted head-on.
Empathy and the Phantasmic in Ethnic American Trauma Narratives examines a burgeoning genre of ethnic American literature called phantasmic trauma narratives, which use culturally specific modes of the supernatural to connect readers to historical traumas such as slavery and genocide. Drawing on trauma theory and using an ethnic studies methodology, this book shows how phantasmic novels and films present historical trauma in ways that seek to invite reader/viewer empathy about the cultural groups represented. In so doing, the author argues that these texts also provide models of interracial alliances to encourage contemporary cross-cultural engagement as a restorative response to historical traumas. Further, the author examines how these narratives function as sites of cultural memory that provide a critical purchase on the enormity of enslavement, genocide, and dispossession.
Using the term "prophetic remembrance" to articulate the expression of a constituent faith in the performative capacity of language, Erica Still shows how black subjectivity is born of and interprets cultural trauma. She brings together African American neo-slave narratives and Black South African postapartheid narratives to reveal the processes by which black subjectivity accounts for its traumatic origins, names the therapeutic work of the present, and inscribes the possibility of the future. The author draws on trauma studies, black theology, and literary criticism as she considers how writers such as Toni Morrison, Charles Johnson, John Edgar Wideman, David Bradley, Sindiwe Magona, K. Sello Duiker, and Zakes Mda explore the possibilities for rehearsing a traumatic past without being overcome by it. Although both African American and South African literary studies have addressed questions of memory, narrative, and trauma, little comparative work has been done. Prophetic Remembrance offers this comparative focus in reading these literatures together to address the question of what it means to remember and to recover from racial oppression.
With close readings of more than twenty novels by writers including Ernest Gaines, Toni Morrison, Charles Johnson, Gloria Naylor, and John Edgar Wideman, Keith Byerman examines the trend among African American novelists of the late twentieth century to write about black history rather than about their own present. Employing cultural criticism and trauma theory, Byerman frames these works as survivor narratives that rewrite the grand American narrative of individual achievement and the march of democracy. The choice to write historical narratives, he says, must be understood historically. These writers earned widespread recognition for their writing in the 1980s, a period of African American commercial success, as well as the economic decline of the black working class and an increase in black-on-black crime. Byerman contends that a shared experience of suffering joins African American individuals in a group identity, and writing about the past serves as an act of resistance against essentialist ideas of black experience shaping the cultural discourse of the present. Byerman demonstrates that these novels disrupt the temptation in American society to engage history only to limit its significance or to crown successful individuals while forgetting the victims.