Trauma and the Memory of Politics / Edition 1

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Jenny Edkins explores how we remember traumatic events such as wars, famines, genocides and terrorism. She argues that remembrance does not have to be nationalistic but can instead challenge the political systems that produced the violence. Using examples from the World Wars, Vietnam, the Holocaust, Kosovo and September 11th, Edkins analyzes the practices of memory rituals through memorials, museums and remembrance ceremonies. This wide-ranging study embraces literature, history, politics and international relations, in an original contribution to the study of memory.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a path-breaking work. It moves the discussion of traumatic memory away from a concentration on paralysis and towards political action. It offers a theoretically sophisticated and powerful reading of the repercussions of traumatic events, as fields of force in which memories of catastrophe are rewritten as forms of resistance. Narratives which encircle terrible events like wars and terrorism can and do challenge political and social conventions in such a way as to create a space in which political commitments can be renegotiated and reconstructed. Essential reading for all students of history and memory." Jay Winter, Yale University

"Are you critical of established images of sovereignty but uncertain how they become reproduced so effectively? Then this is the book for you. Jenny Edkins is compelling as she explores intricate dissonances and intersections between linear time, trauma time, memorials, sovereignty, the nation and resistance to the nation. This is an admirable book that will repay close attention." William E. Connolly, Johns Hopkins University, author, Neuropolitics: Thinking, Culture, Speed

"Edkins has written a provocative book on how traumatic memory is mobilized through various strategies of recall, particularly memorial emplacement in national narratives of heroism, sacrifice, and redemption." - Edward T. Linenthal, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh

"...This book should be placed alongside several other books in recent years for documenting the growing importance of traumatic memories for shaping modern consciousness. The strength of the book lies in the descriptive details of such places as Dachau, Auschwitz, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum..."
—Authur G. Neal, Portland State University, American Journal Sociology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521534208
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/31/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 284
  • Sales rank: 1,345,998
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Jenny Edkins is Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Wales Aberystwyth. Her publications include Whose Hunger? Concepts of Famine, Practices of Aid (2000), Poststructuralism and International Relations: Bringing the Political Back In (1999) and, with Nalini Persram and Veronique Pin-Fat, Sovereignty and Subjectivity (1999).

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Preface; 1. Introduction: trauma, violence and political community; 2. Survivor memories and the diagnosis of trauma: the Great War and Vietnam; 3. War memorials and remembrance: the London Cenotaph and the Vietnam Wall; 4. Concentration camp memorials and museums: Dachau and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum; 5. Testimony and sovereign power after Auschwitz: Holocaust witness and Kosovo refugees; 6. Conclusion: the return of the political - the memory of politics; Bibliography; Index.

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