Memory and photography: Rethinking postcolonial trauma studies

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Recent scholarship in trauma and postcolonial studies has called for more wide‐ranging and at the same time more specific paradigms in trauma theory in order to accommodate the complexities of trauma evidenced in postcolonial writing. The work of sociologist Kai Erikson provides a useful model for unpacking the diachronic nature of postcolonial trauma, and for acknowledging the multiple social fractures that trauma inflicts. In a case study demonstrating Erikson's applicability, I show how common tropes of trauma narrative are used as more than an adherence to convention in Marinovich and Silva's memoir, The Bang‐Bang Club, which recounts the experiences of white South African photographers covering Soweto's Hostel War in the early 1990s. These narrative strategies produce a space of non‐resolution in which the trauma of violence and witnessing can appear.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-29
JournalJournal of Postcolonial Writing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011


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