Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation explores the unconventional forms of testimony to trauma in Iraq. Due to a long history of war and/or sectarian violence, Iraq’s literary and cultural production provide unique ways of representing traumatic experience. These representations, I argue, challenge the predominate western notions of representing trauma. The unique ways of writing/expressing trauma examined in this dissertation offer a new perspective of reading trauma as opposed to the postmodern trauma aesthetics that highlights fragmentation, repetition, and dissociation as symptoms of traumatic experience. This hegemonic approach has led to a deprived investigation of the unique social and historical contexts in which trauma narratives are produced and received. Thus, the postcolonial entanglement with trauma studies underlines the inappropriateness of applying western frameworks on the Iraqi context. Since postmodern aesthetics risk both neglecting histories and silencing voices of colonized nations, the Iraqi works examined in this dissertation resort to new forms of literary and cultural expression. Revisiting the genealogy of trauma as concept that originated from western scientific thought from a postcolonial perspective is one challenging focus of this work. The postcolonial approach to trauma stresses the importance of political and ethical effectiveness over the neutralizing effects of postmodern aesthetics of representing traumatic experiences. The examined literary translations of Sinan Antoon as well as the indigenous musical traditions in Iraq discussed in this dissertation sheds light on new and fruitful perspectives when analyzing traumatic texts in non-western locales.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest
Embargoed until 2025-07-10
Alkhalifah, Imran, "Writing Trauma at Home: The Poetics of Testimony in Iraq’s Literary and Cultural Production" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3008.
Available for download on Thursday, July 10, 2025