English Faculty Publications

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Source

Trauma and Cinema: Cross-Cultural Explorations


Trauma ruptures the world of our daily experiences. It is an intrusion that threatens the body and psyche and affects us in symptomatic ways. That something happened is certain; what that is, however, resists comprehension and understanding. The impetus of much contemporary trauma research in the humanities derives from the coincidence of survivors' insistence on the truth of their experiences and life in a global culture that multiplies traumatic circumstances.

These circumstances pose a radical threat to the fecundity of human life, to be sure, and also to the very possibility of brute survival. My aim in this essay is to find a way in which experiences of terror may acquire forms that will facilitate the necessary thinking through of their significance to our present and future.

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Document Version

Published Version


From Trauma and Cinema: Cross-Cultural Explorations, E. Ann Kaplan & Ban Wang, Eds., 2004; pp. 165-181; reproduced by permission of Hong Kong University Press.

Permission documentation on file.


Hong Kong University Press

Place of Publication

Hong Kong