Research Output
From Trauma Theory to Systemic Violence: Narratives of Post-Katrina New Orleans
  This chapter begins with a discussion of some of the contemporary critiques that have been aimed at trauma theory, focussing specifically on the way writing by Lauren Berlant and Rob Nixon has urged us to attend to systemic and/or slow violence. It argues that, rather than wholly discarding the discourses and applications of trauma theory, we might employ it to attend to the way trauma occurs in the contexts of slow or systemic violence. As case studies for such an undertaking, I turn to two contemporary narratives of post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, texts that are both city narratives and trauma narratives: Dave Eggers’s work of narrative non-fiction, Zeitoun (2009) and David Simon and Eric Overmeyer’s serial television show, Treme (2009-2013). These texts, I contend, dramatize the human suffering that occurs at the intersections of traumatic rupture and ongoing systemic violence. I note the ways these texts situate New Orleans as a vividly unique American metropolis while simultaneously considering the ways they articulate larger, national and international issues. In doing this, I also attend to the way these texts insist on larger historical contexts for the central moment of rupture – Katrina – that is the gravitational force of their narratives.

  • Date:

    31 August 2021

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Cambridge University Press

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Keeble, A. (2021). From Trauma Theory to Systemic Violence: Narratives of Post-Katrina New Orleans. In K. R. McNamara (Ed.), The City in American Literature and Culture (276-292). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press


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