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Introduction. Contemporary Literature in Times of Crisis and Vulnerability: Trauma, Demise of Sovereignty and Interconnectedness

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 May 2020

Silvia Pellicer-Ortín
Affiliation:
Dpto. Filología Inglesa y Alemana, Facultad de Educación, Universidad de Zaragoza, C/Pedro Cerbuna, 12. 50009 Zaragoza, Spain. Email: spellice@unizar.es
Merve Sarikaya-Şen
Affiliation:
Başkent Üniversitesi Bağlıca Kampüsü, Fatih Sultan Mahallesi, Eskişehir Yolu 18.km, Fen Edebiyat Fakültesi, Amerikan Kültürü ve Edebiyatı Bölümü, Etimesgut, Ankara, Turkey

Abstract

The late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have been dominated by multifarious crises that have given way to individual and collective wounds resulting from environmental disasters, exile and migratory movements, war, terrorism, radicalism and other disturbing historical episodes. Our main contention is that trauma and/or excessive exposure to vulnerable situations can be relieved thanks to diverse narrative practices. Accordingly, we explore the field of Trauma Studies since its emergence to its current evolution towards the vulnerability paradigm, examining the different meanings of vulnerability not only from the perspective of the life sciences but also from the social sciences and its application to the humanities. Then, we move on to the notion of resilience and how it can help us articulate and/or move beyond trauma and vulnerability. In keeping with this, considering the ethical and political relationality between the self and other, we highlight one’s tendency to be affected by the other’s wounds and vulnerability as well as the inevitability of interdependency and interconnectedness between people and non-human entities. Thus, we explore the role of literature in giving voice to the voiceless and to unheard experiences of suffering as well as in representing the demise of the sovereign self and the rise of human and non-human interconnectedness after being exposed to traumatic or disastrous events, as represented in contemporary literatures in English.

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Articles
Copyright
© 2020 Academia Europaea

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