Perpetrator Studies Network


Languages of Trauma: History, Memory, and Media

Edited by Peter Leese, Julia Barbara Köhne, and Jason Crouthamel.

This volume traces the distinct cultural languages in which individual and collective forms of trauma are expressed in diverse variations, including oral and written narratives, literature, comic strips, photography, theatre, and cinematic images. The central argument is that traumatic memories are frequently beyond the sphere of medical, legal, or state intervention. To address these different, often intertwined modes of language, the contributors provide a variety of disciplinary approaches to foster innovative debates and provoke new insights.

Prevailing definitions of trauma can best be understood according to the cultural and historical conditions within which they exist. Languages of Trauma explores what this means in practice by scrutinizing varied historical moments from the First World War onwards and particular cultural contexts from across Europe, the United States, Asia, and Africa – striving to help decolonize the traditional Western-centred history of trauma, dissolving it into multifaceted transnational histories of trauma cultures.

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Peter Leese is an associate professor in the Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies at the University of Copenhagen.

Jason Crouthamel is a professor in the Department of History at Grand Valley State University.

Julia Barbara Köhne is FONTE visiting professor in the Faculty of Culture, Social Sciences and Education at Humboldt-University Berlin.