Trauma, Memory, and Performance

Spring 2007, New York
Diana Taylor (
Marianne Hirsch (

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  • H O M E

    Columbia Resource



    First class
    meeting is Tuesday 1/16 at 4:10 p.m.
    in Schermerhorn Room 608 at

    This course explores the interconnections between trauma, memory, and performance through two major 20th c. events, the Holocaust and Argentina’s ‘Dirty War,’ and the theoretical questions they raise. Do they each have their own unique structure and idiom, or can we think about individual and collective trauma through a translocal, cosmopolitan lens?  Topics include: the performance of state power and state sponsored terror; the individual and collective nature of trauma; the study of embodied practices such as testimony and witnessing; the construction of archives of testimony; testimony, its use in literature, museums, and pedagogy, its the dramatizations by others, its archivization; the social role of sites of memory (Auschwitz, Club Atlético, etc.); theaters of justice such as trials, tribunals and truth commissions; performances of protest and resistance.

    This course draws from classic and recent readings at the juncture of trauma, memory, and performance studies. To build on the paradigms suggested by the Holocaust and Argentina’s ‘Dirty War,’ students will be encouraged to extend the topics explored in class to other sites—slavery, the Gulag, Hiroshima, 9/11, TRC, Tlatelolco, etc.

    Please note that this is a consortium course which will alternate meetings at Columbia and NYU.  Students need to figure travel time into their plans.  We plan to meet on Tuesdays from 4:15-6:30.  During the semester, several evening talks and seminars will be organized in conjunction with the course, both at Columbia and NYU.

    For more information on the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, visit