1st Edition

The Future of Trauma Theory Contemporary Literary and Cultural Criticism

Edited By Gert Buelens, Samuel Durrant, Robert Eaglestone Copyright 2014
    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    This collection analyses the future of ‘trauma theory’, a major theoretical discourse in contemporary criticism and theory. The chapters advance the current state of the field by exploring new areas, asking new questions and making new connections.

    Part one, History and Culture, begins by developing trauma theory in its more familiar post-deconstructive mode and explores how these insights might still be productive. It goes on, via a critique of existing positions, to relocate trauma theory in a postcolonial and globalized world, theoretically, aesthetically and materially, and focuses on non-Western accounts and understandings of trauma, memory and suffering. Part two, Politics and Subjectivity, turns explicitly to politics and subjectivity, focussing on the state and the various forms of subjection to which it gives rise, and on human rights, biopolitics and community.

    Each chapter, in different ways, advocates a movement beyond the sort of texts and concepts that are the usual focus for trauma criticism and moves this dynamic network of ideas forward.

    With contributions from an international selection of leading critics and thinkers from the US and Europe, this volume will be a key critical intervention in one of the most important areas in contemporary literary criticism and theory.

    1. Gert Buelens, Samuel Durrant, Robert Eaglestone, ‘Introduction: The Future of Trauma’

    Section One: The Afterlife of Trauma: Histories For the Present

    2. Judith Butler, ‘Discursive Seizure and Political Responsibility: Primo Levi for the Present'

    3. Dominick LaCapra, ‘Fascism and the Sacred: Sites of Inquiry after (or along with) Trauma’

    4. Cathy Caruth, ‘After the End: Psychoanalysis in the Ashes of History’

    Section Two: Trauma and the Politics of Community

    5. Jenny Edkins, ‘Time, Personhood, Politics’

    6. Pieter Vermeulen, ‘Biopolitics, Communitas, and Trauma’

    Section Three: Trauma Studies and its Discontents

    7. Wulf Kansteiner, ‘The Trouble with Trauma: An Inquiry into the Peculiar Aesthetic, Ideological, and Emotional Dynamics of Cultural Memory Studies’

    8. Stef Craps, ‘Beyond Eurocentrism: Trauma Theory in the Global Age’

    Section Four: Beyond Europe: Postcolonialising Trauma Studies

    9. Sam Durrant, ‘Implicated Passages: Traumatic Exchanges in Postslavery Literature’

    10. Ananya Jahanara Kabir, ‘Lyric Iterations: Some non-European Responses to Traumatic Histories’

    Section Five: Back to the Future?

    11. Roger Luckhurst, ‘Future Schock: Science Fiction and Trauma’

    12. Robert Eaglestone, ‘Afterwardness’, after trauma?


    Gert Buelens is Professor of English at Ghent University, and Director of LITRA, the Centre for Literature and Trauma there.

    Sam Durrant is Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Literature at the University of Leeds.

    Robert Eaglestone is Professor of Contemporary Literature and Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London, and Director of the Holocaust Research Centre there.

    "The Future of Trauma Theory has the potential to appeal to a general readership as well as specialists... it is nonetheless quite an impressive collection of essays. It not only manages to produce a coherent picture of the ongoing condition of trauma studies but also introduces--through numerous close readings of texts from all around the globe and in almost every genre--many new locations where trauma can be effectively analyzed." -Amir Khadem, University of Alberta, College Literature, 2014