English 9070B

Testimony, Trauma, and Indigenous Writings

Professor Julia Emberley.
Winter Half Course.

Testimony and trauma studies came about because of Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub’s collaborative book on Holocaust survivor testimony. Henceforth, testimony was re-imagined outside its restrictive confessional and legal contexts and became, instead, a key language and discourse in the pursuit of social justice around the world. Students will read earlier work in testimony studies by Felman and Laub, Cathy Caruth, and others. Followed by more current work in transnational Indigenous critical and literary writings. Students will read, for instance, primary, secondary, visual and literary texts on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools. Students will read selections of the TRC final report, especially the volume titled The Survivors Speak. In addition, students will read Eden Robinson’s Monkey Beach, Marie Clements, The Unnatural and Accidental Women, and Lee Maracle’s Raven’s Song. Students will also read critical work by Chadwick Allen, Lee Maracle, Craig Womack, Gerald Vizenor, Cheryl Suzack, Terrry Tafoya, Mark Rifkin and others. In addition to the TRC students will examine other traumatic and testimonial texts related to environmental issues, sexuality and gender differences, Indigenous feminisms, genocide and human rights (Rwanda, for example).