Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2018


Since the conclusion of the Second World War, understanding trauma and PTSD in relation to the progression of both history and basic human nature, especially during times of uncertainty, has grown in popularity. The study of PTSD was first introduced by Johannes Hofer, in 1688, as a form of nostalgia, but in recent decades, the definition of emotional trauma has been debated. Siegfried Sassoon, a famous poet during the World Wars, wrote about trauma in terms of its impact. Originally, it was thought trauma could only exist if the world moved in a linear nature, not cyclical. But as society became more individualized, trauma shifted from an event to an abstract condition. In this modern interpretation, trauma is not an accident but a path of fate. It is not simply a part of the individual, rather, the individual comes to be at the mercy of his or her trauma. However, because trauma is no longer an event, the reality is questioned. Drawing on such philosophers and trauma studies scholars, as Cathy Caruth, Joel Marks, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub, trauma creates a liminal state, with one’s own memories neither in the past nor the present, forcing the trauma to lose authenticity. The lack of reliability in one’s memories leads the individual to be vulnerable in the face of uncertainty. Despite this deeply personalized conclusion, though, the vulnerability effect is universal. It is only through recognition of this universality, the trauma is able to reclaim its validity.


Presented at the Undergraduate Research, Creativity, and Innovation Forum, 2018.