Edited by Katharyne Mitchell, Reece Jones and Jennifer L. Fluri
Chapter 9: Embodiment and memory in the geopolitics of trauma
Trauma has become a ubiquitous framework for attempts to conceptualize the after-effects of violent and life-disruptive experiences. As such, trauma is an important discursive practice through which to consider how militarized violence persistently escapes from ideologically circumscribed war zones and their discrete temporalities. This chapter demonstrates the tension between trauma practices that conceptualize trauma as within individual body-minds and trauma practices that understand experiences of trauma as relational, or emergent from particular social environments and legal procedures that individuals encounter. The authors focus on trauma practices within refugee resettlement processes specifically for Iraqi refugees since the 2003 US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. They focus on the narratives and creative practices of Iraqis who have been exiled, and in particular one woman’s memoir. Through Alia Al-Ali’s narrative the authors demonstrate how a relational understanding of trauma unfolds an intimate, affective geopolitics that cannot be extracted from historical geographies of US imperialism, war, and displacement.
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