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Losing Real Life

James Baldwin and the Ethics of Trauma

Mikko Tuhkanen

This essay proposes that we turn to James Baldwin’s work to assess the cost of, and think alternatives to, the cultures of traumatization whose proliferation one witnesses in contemporary U.S. academia. Beginning with some recent examples, the essay briefly places these cultures into a genealogy of onto-ethics whose contemporary forms arose with the reconfiguration of diasporic histories in the idioms of psychoanalysis and deconstructive philosophy in 1990s trauma theory. Baldwin speaks to the contemporary moment as he considers the outcome of trauma’s perpetuation in an autobiographical scene from “Notes of a Native Son.” In this scene—which restages Bigger Thomas’s murderous compulsion in Native Son—he warns us against embracing one’s traumatization as a mode of negotiating the world. In foregoing what Sarah Schulman has recently called the “duty of repair,” such traumatized engagement prevents all search for the kind of “commonness” whose early articulation can be found in Aristotle’s query after “the common good” (to koinon agathon). With Baldwin, the present essay suggests the urgency of returning to the question of “the common good”: while mindful of past critiques, which have observed in this concept’s deployment a sleight-of-hand by which hegemonic positions universalize their interests, we should work to actualize the unfinished potential of Aristotle’s idea. Baldwin’s work on diasporic modernity provides an indispensable archive for this effort.

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All Lives Are Equal but Some Lives Are More Equal than Others

Staff Security and Civilian Protection in the Humanitarian Sector

Miriam Bradley

on other civilians is notable. While most agencies favour staff-security strategies centred on acceptance in theory, many – especially UN agencies – rely on harder strategies in practice ( Collinson and Duffield, 2013 : 12). For example, staff may travel under armed escort. Aid agencies are somewhat secretive about their use of armed escorts, making it difficult to assess how frequently they use them. However, research on private security firms, for example, suggests they are used more widely than generally recognised for purposes of staff security but are not

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Spectacularly wounded

White male vulnerability as heterosexual fantasy

Susanna Paasonen

, Martin Barker (2014: 145) maintains a critical distance from Freudian and post-​Freudian psychoanalytical theories that treat fantasies as compensatory ‘playback for real traumatic experiences’ and the ‘distorted management of childhood problems and traumas, almost always family generated’, such as those driving Christian Grey. Instead, Barker is interested in the diverse work that sexual fantasies do in peoples’ lives as a means of trying ‘out versions of self-​in-​sexual-​society, reimagining themselves through others’ reimaginings’ (2014: 146). He offers a five

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Jenny Edkins

That Remains, 68. 11 Agamben, The Time That Remains, 74. 12 I make this argument more fully in Jenny Edkins, ‘Time, Personhood, Politics.’ In The Future of Trauma Theory: Contemporary Literary Criticism, edited by Gert Buelens, Sam Durrant and Robert Eaglestone, 127–40. London: Routledge, 2013. 13 Agamben, The Time That Remains, 68. Original emphasis. 14 Santner, On the Psychotheology of Everyday Life, 30. Original emphasis. 15 Santner, On the Psychotheology of Everyday Life, 31. 16 The phrase ‘traversing the fantasy’ reflects a Lacanian approach such as that

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Louise L. Lambrichs

Trauma, dream and narrative

Victoria Best

   Louise L. Lambrichs: trauma, dream and narrative The novels of Louise Lambrichs are brilliant but troubling psychological dramas focusing on the traumas that inhabit the family romance: incest, sterility, the death of those we love and the terrible legacy of mourning. Bringing together themes of loss and recompense, Lambrichs’s novels trace with infinite delicacy the reactions of those who suffer and seek obsessively for comfort and understanding. But equally they perform a subtle and often chilling evocation of the secrets, lies and crimes that

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Katariina Kyrölä

: Princeton University Press. Brunila, K. and L.-​M. Rossi (2017). ‘Identity politics, the ethos of vulnerability, and education’, Educational Philosophy and Theory, 50:3, pp. 287–​98. https://​​ 10.1080/​00131857.2017.1343115. Butler, J. (2004). Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso. Carter, A. (2015). ‘Teaching with trauma: Trigger warnings, feminism, and disability pedagogy’, Disability Studies Quarterly, 35:2, http://​dsq-​​article/​view/​ 4652/​3935 (accessed 17 December 2017). Cecire, N. (2014). ‘On the “neoliberal

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Moral discourse and action in relation to the corpse

Integrative concepts for a criminology of mass violence


Jon Shute

commonly evoke moral outrage in onlookers and deliver emotional trauma to victims.1 Their commission requires at least one perpetrator to be not bound by the moral–emotional content of the law at the time of the offence, nor by the likely consequences of their actions on the emotional life of others. The perpetrator will none­the­less spend most time conforming to most laws and, moreover, is statistic­a lly more likely to witness and experience the types of trauma associated with the victim;2 this points both to the dangers of essentializ­ing and othering ‘the criminal

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The caring nation

Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves as a reparative fantasy

Anu Koivunen

hand. We shall dry each other’s tears. We shall dry each other’s tears with open hearts and our bare hands.’ With these words, she paraphrased the title of Jonas Gardell’s novel and TV drama Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves, which for the first time in the Swedish mainstream public sphere addressed the trauma of HIV/​ AIDS, and for which Gardell was awarded the prize. Accepting the award, Jonas Gardell responded cheekily:  ‘You may be the Crown Princess, but tonight, I am the Queen’ (see ­figure 12.1). The gala was televised nationally and Princess Victoria

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Trigger happy

From content warning to censorship

Jack Halberstam

 51 3 TRIGGER HAPPY From content warning to censorship1 Jac k H al be r sta m T rigger warnings have become standard fare on some college campuses over the past few years. But they have also been the occasion for intense debates about pedagogy, classroom conduct, the use of media in the classroom, and the nature of trauma. In general terms, a trigger warning is a cautionary note that may be added to syllabi or online sites to alert readers, students, or casual browsers about violent or sexually explicit images and text in the materials on a site, in a course

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Anu Koivunen, Katariina Kyrölä and Ingrid Ryberg

: Theorizing the Social. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Cole, A. (2016). ‘All of us are vulnerable, but some are more vulnerable than others: The political ambiguity of vulnerability studies, an ambivalent critique’, Critical Horizons: A Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory, 17:2, pp. 260–​77. Colebrook, C. (2010). Deleuze and the Meaning of Life. London: Continuum. Coleman, R. (2008). ‘The becoming of bodies: Girls, media effects, and body image’, Feminist Media Studies, 8:2, pp. 163–​79. Cvetkovich, A. (2003). An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian