Francis Bacon Painting

Psychic trauma can be understood as both a violent breaching of subjective boundaries with long-term aftereffects, and the event that caused the breach. The traumatized individual returns compulsively to the unbearable experience again and again in thought, memory, and dreams, but is unable to move beyond it.

We will read theoretical material by psychologists and psychoanalysts, historians, and cultural scholars, and study representations of trauma in film and literature. Please note that the theoretical material will be intellectually challenging, and the film and literature may well be emotionally challenging.

Some of our topics will include: representational strategies for depicting traumatic events and the subject’s immediate and long-term experience of trauma; historical trauma (war, genocide, and other atrocities); grief, mourning, and melancholia; shock and the experience of modernity; trauma theory and horror film.

Taught by Kelly Hurley.