In this paper we discuss our experiences teaching life writings of trauma to undergraduate literature students, employing Helen Garner’s Joe Cinque’s Consolation as a case study. We consider the affect of trauma stories and explore the ethics of including trauma texts in the literature curriculum—texts which often confront and destabilize students’ reading positions. Such texts require the deployment of literary methodologies including but also beyond close reading—for instance, paratextual, contextual and theory-based readings. Life narratives of trauma offer a means for broad considerations of the social and political efficacy of Australian literature texts. In reading these texts students must consider their role as witnesses and the responsibilities that come with responding to testimony. Our students’ responses to these reading methodologies (and we include some anonymous responses here) reveal the particular challenges and eventual rewards of these theories and methods for contemporary literary analysis and life writing.
Douglas, Kate and Barnett, Tully
"Teaching Traumatic Life Narratives: Affect, Witnessing and Ethics”,"
Antipodes: Vol. 28:
1, Article 10.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/antipodes/vol28/iss1/10