Emily R Johnston - "Feminist Geographies: Narrating Trauma Across Borders in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
How does trauma get narrated across borders? What is gained? What is lost? This presentation will explore these questions in relation to the narration of rape in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo phenomenon, drawing from work in trauma theory (Judith Herman, M.D. on sexual abuse and traumatic disorders; Laura S. Brown on feminism and psychic trauma; and Van der Kolk and Van der Hart on memory and trauma), cultural theory (Appadurai on the dimensions of mediascapes and ideascapes in global cultural flows), and theories of globalization (Manfred B. Steger on ideology and globalization; and Brian Larkin on film and globalization). The novel and films of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo erode and cross multiple borders: national borders, with the novel’s translation into almost forty languages (Baker); borders of genre, with two film adaptations of the novel—a Swedish and Hollywood version; and identity borders between conflicting parts of oneself, such as perpetrator/victim. These border crossings illustrate the phenomenon’s tremendous, global capacity for travel; and tracking this phenomenal movement across space, genre, and identities exposes how the narration of rape in Dragon Tattoo refuses hegemonic notions, as well as conceptions in trauma theory, about who rape victims are and how they respond to rape.
A doctoral student in English Studies at ISU, Emily Johnston is Senior Editorial Assistant for SRPR (Spoon River Poetry Review) as well as the Community Outreach Coordinator for ISU’s Writing Program. Emily earned her MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her creative and critical work appears in Antipodes: A Global Journal of Australian/New Zealand Literature, The Fourth River, and Dos Passos Review, among others. Emily eventually hopes to build a “Therapy House” where victims of violence can explore arts, movement, and other collaborative activities as tools for recovery.
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