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

  • Martha Lincoln (a1) and Bruce Lincoln (a2)

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.

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