Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History

Routledge
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In this unique collection, Yale literary critic Shoshana Felman and psychoanalyst Dori Laub examine the nature and function of memory and the act of witnessing, both in their general relation to the acts of writing and reading, and in their particular relation to the Holocaust. Moving from the literary to the visual, from the artistic to the autobiographical, and from the psychoanalytic to the historical, the book defines for the first time the trauma of the Holocaust as a radical crisis of witnessing "the unprecedented historical occurrence of...an event eliminating its own witness." Through the alternation of a literary and clinical perspective, the authors focus on the henceforth modified relation between knowledge and event, literature and evidence, speech and survival, witnessing and ethics.
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About the author

Shoshana Felman is the Thomas E. Donnelly Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Yale University. Dori Laub is a psychiatrist engaged in the treatment of trauma survivors and is cofounder of the Holocaust Survivors' Film Project and of the Video Archives for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Oct 18, 2013
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Pages
312
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ISBN
9781135206024
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Collections / General
Social Science / Media Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Harold Innis is widely understood as the proponent of the "Laurentian school" of historiography, which mapped Canadian development along an East-West axis. Harold Innis and the North turns the axis North-South by examining Innis's intense and abiding interest in the North, and providing new perspectives on this seminal figure in Canadian political economy and communication studies. This collection reveals that Innis's advocacy of the North was closely bound up with his vision of northern Canada as the site of a second industrial revolution based on mining, hydro-electric power, pulp and paper, and enabled by new forms of transportation. Long preoccupied with Canada's coming of age as a balanced and integrated industrial nation-state, Innis grappled with the same issues about the North in the Canadian nation that we are dealing with today. Chapters explore the breadth of Innis's northern activities, including his early studies of the fur trade, his biography of eighteenth-century explorer and cartographer Peter Pond, his review essays on the North for the Canadian Historical Review, his leadership of the Rockefeller-sponsored Arctic Survey, and his trip to the Soviet Union. Harold Innis and the North crafts a new narrative about the nature and scope of Innis's intellectual project and provides a unique appreciation of his multi-faceted professional identity. Contributors include Sergei Arkhipov (North-Ossetian State University and NGO Vladikavkaz Institute of Economics) Jeffrey Brison (Queens), George Colpitts (Calgary), Matthew Evenden (UBC), Barry Gough (Churchill College, Cambridge and Kings College, London), Paul Heyer (Wilfrid Laurier), Jim Mochoruk (North Dakota), Liza Piper (Alberta), Shirley Roburn (Concordia), Peter van Wyck (Concordia), Jeff Webb (Memorial).
Psychoanalytic work with socially traumatised patients is an increasingly popular vocation, but remains extremely demanding and little covered in the literature. In Psychoanalysis and Holocaust Testimony, a range of contributors draw upon their own clinical work, and on research findings from work with seriously disturbed Holocaust survivors, to illuminate how best to conduct clinical work with such patients in order to maximise the chances of a positive outcome, and to reflect transferred trauma for the clinician.

Psychoanalysis and Holocaust Testimony

closely examines the phenomenology of destruction inherent in the discourse of extreme traumatization, focusing on a particular case study: the recording of video testimonies from a group of extremely traumatized, chronically hospitalized Holocaust survivors in psychiatric institutions in Israel. This case study demonstrates how society reacts to unwanted memories, in media, history, and psychoanalysis – but it also shows how psychotherapists and researchers try to approach the buried memories of the survivors, through being receptive to shattered life narratives.

Questions of bearing witness, testimony, the role of denial, and the impact of traumatic narrative on society and subsequent generations are explored. A central thread of this book is the unconscious countertransference resistance to the trauma discourse, which manifests itself in arenas that are widely apart, such as genocide denial, the "disappearance" of the hospitalized Holocaust survivors and of their life stories, mishearing their testimonies and ultimately refusing them the diagnosis of "traumatic psychosis".

Psychoanalysis and Holocaust Testimony

provides an essential, multidisciplinary guide to working psychoanalytically with severely traumatised patients. It will appeal to psychoanalysts, psychoanalytic psychotherapists and trauma studies therapists.
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