The trauma of memory: Negotiating between personal and collective histories
Price, Erin M.
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When we look back on past events some we will recall just as vividly as when they occurred. Others, over time, will fade and distort like an old photograph. However, the process of remembering and creating memory becomes a more strategic exercise when one must overcome its odds in the face of a traumatic event. When memory and trauma intersect with race, class, and gender, the act complicates itself further. Just as personal experiences are not homogenous, nor are collective experiences as well. This paper wishes to concentrate on memory and trauma in three ways. The first section will deal with memories that have been repressed or fabricated through the scope of sexual abuse. The second section will look at the complications between memory as truth and memory as an appropriation through the works and critiques of Rigoberta Menchu. Lastly, the third section will study how we remember events singularly and how we choose to collectively remember when photographs are introduced. Specifically, I will do this by analyzing the events of 9/11. What memories are ours and what memories have been passed on through the generations? How can personal ideology and beliefs drive what we remember and what we might choose to forget? What are the consequences of remembering and forgetting what has hurt us? While this paper will tackle three very different traumas, the specific points of inquest will examine one uniform idea of how memories are constructed and reinterpreted through the lenses of gender, race, class, and trauma.