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(Dis)embodied sight: September 11 and the politics of collective memory, representation, and experience


Clifford, K, (Dis)embodied sight: September 11 and the politics of collective memory, representation, and experience, Australian Journal of Communication, 35, (1) pp. 69-88. ISSN 0811-6202 (2008) [Refereed Article]

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During the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, an extraordinary number of `everyday New Yorkers' turned out on the streets of lower Manhattan to photographically record the events as they happened. The result was a profusion of amateur images that captured not only the shock and devastation generated by the attacks, but also the vitality and urgency of the public's response to 9/11. For many, the act of photography of 'bearing witness' to the tragedy offered a vehicle by which to move from the personal act of `seeing' to being part of a collective working through trauma together.

This paper addresses these public acts of personal witnessing and the subsequent efforts made to facilitate a space in which 'everyday New Yorkers' could structure their own collective memory of 9/11. In the process, it negotiates the ways in which much of the work on trauma and witnessing has failed to account for the ways in which these acts reach their audiences. How does the 'collective' suffer in the first place and how does this suffering become externalised in the form of cultural representations of trauma? More importantly, how, and to what extent, are these cultural representations shaped or informed by the social domains in which they are produced?

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Communication and media studies
Research Field:Media studies
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture
UTAS Author:Clifford, K (Dr Katrina Clifford)
ID Code:81454
Year Published:2008
Deposited By:English, Journalism and European Languages
Deposited On:2012-12-07
Last Modified:2015-01-02
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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