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Trauma, Hysteria, Philosophy

2009

Paperback, 146 pages

ISBN 0981997244

ISBN-13 9780981997247

Trauma, Hysteria, Philosophy includes two essays which investigate philosophically the psychoanalytic categories of trauma and hysteria; each essay seeks a new way to understand such varied concepts as the dialectical theater and the linguistic turn. Media Identity is an attempt to reinvestigate the concept of hysteria as a philosophical notion. Beginning with the roots of Freud’s development of the unconscious, moving to Bergson’s concept of ontological memory and the body, and utilizing Deleuze’s work on the virtual this essay attempts to navigate and describe the possibilities of identity in an age of ubiquitous media. Far from accepting a pessimistic outlook on the state of the subject this work considers the possibility of an aesthetics of hysteria. Turn: theories of trauma in the age of linguistics explores the not-so-implicit relationship between the “linguistic turn” in critical theory and the growing field of trauma studies. Drawing from psychoanalysis, critical theory, linguistic philosophy and literature, Kamens discusses the ways in which language and trauma have grown increasingly interdependent. Hannes Charen is an independent scholar, writer and book designer based in Brooklyn, New York. He has his Masters in Philosophy from the European Graduate School and is currently a Ph.D. candidate. Sarah Kamens is a Ph.D. student in Media and Communications at the European Graduate School, where she also received her M.A., and in Clinical Psychology at Fordham University. During the past few years, she lived in Palestine and Israel, where she conducted psychosocial research and worked in film.

Customer Reviews:

  • Radical Texts

    There are times when one encounters a text which, in its peculiar way, convinces you, just by its skin, that with enough attention and perseverance something radical will occur in you, to you as a result of its ingestion. Hannes Charen's essay Media Identity: Aesthetics of Hysteria in the two author collection Trauma, Hysteria, Philosophy is such a text, one whose dialectical riddles re-temporalize each time you look back on them. The text has a holographic, shifting, hallucinating quality which successfully projects the very project, which might be something like: "In becoming a hysterical medium the artist both becomes the work and achieves that figure which can be abandoned, and so, separated from meaning, from worlds, from self. It is both life in the medium and transcendent life in the sense that the two realms become indistinguishable or at least undecidable. This is something like an aesthetics of hysteria." (p.41-42)

    This text is a difficult one. Following the rigorous tradition of the German Idealists of the 19th Century, the book most notably resembles the work of Schelling, who aptly is quoted at the beginning of the text. Like his Ages of the World, Media Identity never veers from the contemplation, the confrontation with the paradox of becoming. In this case it is hysteria and its infinite variants and fragmented productions which reveals in its inner contradictions the tension of form itself. By sticking to a severe dialectical presence this book stays far far away from platitudes of the Lacanian tradition--aware that for knowledge and understanding to remain in their 'Zizekian' deadlock, language must not propose or over-name. Hannes' work affirms the insistence of the aesthetic it chases after.

    This is a work which requires and teaches patience, it is highly recommended to all 'would-be' thinkers, as well as to those in bad relationships wondering, "What must I do to become reasonable to you?"

    (There is also an extensive investigation of hysteria's 'ontic' counterpart, mass hysteria, made ever topical by its domination of cyberspaces, and psyches.)

    The Second Essay in this collection is a very well-researched, sometimes ecstatic, exploration of the meanings and possibilities left in the wake of the 20th Century's obsession with language itself. Using its own creative formulations and inserting the psychoanalytic theory of trauma onto the surface of the text, Sarah's work is informative and challenging, very multiplicitous in its technique.

    In general, this collection is quite an accomplishment.
    source: Amazon, by user: A1NTULPBMH11WT
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