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By Christina D. Weber (auth.)

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Additional info for Social Memory and War Narratives: Transmitted Trauma among Children of Vietnam War Veterans

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These events are not natural disasters. When “the traumatic events are of human design, those who bear witness are caught in the conf lict between victim and perpetrator. It is morally impossible to remain neutral in this conf lict” (Herman, 1992, 7). Thus, our ambivalence with trauma studies often ref lects our ambivalence with historical moments and events that cause breaches in our collective narratives—dominant fictions as I continue to call them throughout this book (and which is discussed in greater depth in chapter three).

Largely a result of the great number of combat veterans from the Vietnam War seeking assistance from Veterans Affairs (VA) in their readjustment to civilian life, the inclusion of PTSD in the DSM-III legitimated a psychological condition, which had, until then, a contentious existence in the field of psychology. To say that PTSD came into being in 1980, though, tells us nothing of the historically ambivalent relationship western societies have had with trauma studies over the last century. As Judith Herman comments, the study of psychological trauma has a curious history—one of episodic amnesia.

But there are always gaps in their understanding. As the second focal text, Ann Cvetkovich’s book, Archive of Feeling,4 provides further insights into these relationships. 5 Minute Ride, she emphasizes the intersubjectivity of remembering a historically traumatic event, paying attention to the ways highly affective relationships come to bear meaning for both the person and the historical moment, uncovering the silence underlying it. In the process, both Kron and Cvetkovich transgress the individual/society (personal/cultural) arguments by analyzing the emotional dynamism of our remembering processes.

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