Collectivization of Trauma in Transnational Film

Johannes Shephard, Jeffrey Casey, English, Norwich University 158 Harmon Drive, Northfield, VT 05663 USA

Using the lens of post colonial theory and semiotics this research aims to examine how trauma can be an individual artifact or a collective icon. This research uses the films Les Miserables by Ladj Ly and The Insult by Ziad Doueiri as templates to explore the phenomenon of the collectivization of trauma. This is done by applying Barthesian ideas of the independent nature of language in order to examine the instance of trauama as an independent entities unrelated to the individual traumatized or the individual who causes the trauma. These two films serve as examples of how this loss of ownership is essential to the further development of the idea to the mythological icon that traumatic events often become. In both films there is an instance of secterian conflict this conflict is then either conflated with the status quo of the socio-political environment in which the trauma occurs or  remains an artifact of the traumatized. In this research I aim to explore how different social and political systems in the film worlds of each film impact the nature of the traumatic event. I anticipate that my research will find that despite social and political differences the fundamental action in the transcendences of trauma from individual to collectivized will be the ability of the individuals to act with agency in regards to their trauma and reconcile with the event as agents in their own existence. This research will draw from Roland Barthes work on semiology and mythology as well as post colonial ideas of generational trauma as put forth by Frantz Fanon. This research essentially aims to examine how and where trauma is collectivized and uses these two films as the case study for this process. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Johannes Shephard

Institution: Norwich University

Type: Oral

Subject: English & Literature

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Oral 8
Date/Time: Tue 5:00pm-6:00pm
Session Number: 825
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