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Toward a Critical Hauntology: Bare Afterlife and the Ghosts of Ba Chúc

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 January 2015

Martha Lincoln*
University of California, Berkeley
Bruce Lincoln
University of Chicago


While cross-disciplinary analysis of ghosts and haunting has burgeoned in recent decades, much of this scholarship presumes the figure of the ghost as a less than literal apparition. We propose that writers such as Jacques Derrida and Avery Gordon, who make use of the ghostly as a trope, are in fact describing a phenomenon we term secondary haunting, distinct from accounts of unquiet spirits who address the living directly with specific demands for redress: a visceral and often frightening experience we term primary haunting. Drawing on a contemporary account of the ghosts of a massacre in a Vietnamese village, we explore the complex interaction of primary and secondary haunting, the different kinds of memory work they engage in and the different moral communities they mobilize.

Research Article
Copyright © Society for the Comparative Study of Society and History 2014 

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