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    Disrupting Memory: Trauma and Fictions of the ‘War on terror’

    O'Brien, Sarah (2019) Disrupting Memory: Trauma and Fictions of the ‘War on terror’. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    This thesis explores the ways in which transnational fiction in the post-9/11 era can intervene in discourse surrounding the ‘war on terror’ to advocate for marginalised and excluded perspectives. This study conceptualises global political discourse—as it relates to the ‘war on terror’ and its attendant conflicts—as characterised by incongruity, with transnational memory frames instituted in Western nations centralising 9/11 as an instance of unique trauma and wilfully excluding the historical and ongoing experiences of Afghans and Iraqis under Western—and mainly American—hegemonic violence. I employ recent developments in trauma studies to understand the ways in which dominant frameworks for conceptualising trauma in the West contribute to this exclusion, failing to account for the type of ongoing suffering common to non-Western, colonial and postcolonial contexts. Specifically, I examine the ways in which authors positioned here as representing marginalised perspectives in the context of the ‘war on terror’, such as Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner), and Nadeem Aslam (The Wasted Vigil, The Blind Man’s Garden) respond, in various ways, to these challenges and present narratives that disrupt framings of the 9/11 attacks as a singular instance of global rupture, making space for alternate voices and experiences related to the invasion of Afghanistan. The final chapter also participates in this disruption, examining texts by Ben Fountain (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk) Phil Klay (Redeployment) that interrogate the Iraq War as a cynical and imperialistic endeavour, exploring the phenomenon of perpetrator trauma. I argue that the authors studied in this thesis each employ a range of approaches—translation of complex cultural trauma into single catastrophic events, landscapes marred by suffering, the depiction of ghosts and hauntings— that reveal a ‘war on terror’ and a violent American hegemony that is underpinned by an exclusionary but influential memory discourse in America and other Western nations.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Disrupting Memory; Trauma; Fictions; ‘War on terror’;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies > English
    Item ID: 15370
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2022 15:47
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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