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Other People’s Pain

Narratives of Trauma and the Question of Ethics

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Edited By Martin Modlinger and Philipp Sonntag

How do we approach other people’s pain? This question is of crucial importance to the humanities, particularly literary and cultural studies, whenever they address narratives of terror and genocide, injustice and oppression, violence and trauma. Talking about other people’s pain inevitably draws attention to the ethical dimension involved in acknowledging stories and histories of violence while avoiding an appropriation – by the reading public, literary critics or cultural historians alike – of the traumatic experiences themselves. The question of how to do justice to the other’s pain calls for an academic response that reflects as much on its own status as ethical agent as on literary expression and philosophical accounts or theoretical descriptions. This volume therefore explores the theoretical framework of trauma studies and its place within academic discourse and society, and examines from a multidisciplinary perspective the possibilities and limitations of trauma as an analytical category. A variety of case studies on individual and collective traumatic experiences as portrayed in literature and art highlight the ethical implications involved in the production, reception and analysis of other people’s pain.

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Notes on Contributors -237

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Notes on Contributors ALEIDA ASSMANN is Professor of English Literature at the University of Constance (Germany). Her research focuses on history and memory in lit- erary and cultural studies with a special emphasis on cultural memory. She is the author of Geschichte im Gedächtnis. Von der individuellen Erfahrung zur öf fentlichen Inszenierung (2007), Der lange Schatten der Vergangen­ heit. Erinnerungskultur und Geschichtspolitik (2006) and co-editor (with Sebastian Conrad) of Memory in a Global Age. Discourses, Practices and Trajectories (2010). BETTINA BANNASCH is Professor of Modern German Literature at the University of Augsburg (Germany). Her research interests include Holocaust literature, German-Jewish literature and, most recently, German literature in exile. She is co-editor (with Almuth Hammer) of Verbot der Bilder – Gebot der Erinnerung. Mediale Repräsentationen der Shoah (2004) and (with Günter Butzer) Übung und Af fekt. Formen des Körpergedächtnisses (2007). COLIN DAVIS is Professor of French at Royal Holloway, University of London. His research is principally in the field of twentieth-century French literature, thought and film. He is particularly interested in ethical criticism and the links between philosophy, literature and film. He is the author of Ethical Issues in Twentieth­Century French Fiction: Killing the Other (2000) and Haunted Subjects: Deconstruction, Psychoanalysis and the Return of the Dead (2007). RUDOLF FREIBURG is Professor of English Literature at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany). His research interests include eight- eenth-century literature, postmodernist literature and the relationship between theodicy, atheism and literature. He has co-edited numerous books, amongst them (with...

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