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Aftermath | Art and Trauma

“I’m arguing that for true witnessing to take place, a certain distancing from the subject is necessary to enable the interviewer or the viewer to take in and respond to the traumatic situation. When art constructs that sort of position for the spectator, it enables attention to be drawn to the situation, rather than merely to the subject’s individual suffering. This opens out to embrace larger social and political meanings.”

– E. Ann Kaplan is the author of “Trauma Culture: The Politics of Terror and Loss in the Media and Literature.”


  • ‘Entering Darkness’ Depicting an individual’s story leads viewers to awareness of a ‘generalized horror.’ By E. Ann Kaplan
  • Art and Literature: Guiding Journalists in Trauma’s Portrayal ‘… Nieman Fellows who’d been in the Balkans wanted to take courses in music, art, poetry, and other kinds of literature. I don’t think this happens arbitrarily.’ Panel members: E. Ann Kaplan, Rose Moss, Roya Hakakian
  • Art and Trauma—And Journalist as Observer ‘We have to be inside of the circle to understand the conversation, to get down and dirty with the people who are making art, and still keep that distance by preserving our personal and professional space apart from them. That’s very important.’ Panel members: Chris Vognar, Alicia Anstead, Glenda Carpio