This talk traces contemporary approaches of trauma theory and its application in the humanities. By applying Ruth Leys and Marianne Hirsch’s views on post-memory Karanika argues that Greek literature uses stylized lament in narratives that are not only about past, but also present and future with a committed emphasis on the locus of trauma. Both epic and tragedy are often centered on irresoluble conflict. While time of conflicts and resulting trauma can be elusive, place cannot. It stands in proximity or distance as a physical reminder of a topos that is the source of traumatic memory. Karanika will discuss the theme of the ‘fall of a city,’ from mythical Troy to Constantinople and Smyrna and how it represents trauma reductively acquiring “its own agency to move contagiously across generations and through texts,” as Kalaidjian has put it while writing on Balakian’s poetry on the Armenian Genocide.
Andromache Karanika is an Associate Professor of Classics at UCI. She received her PhD at Princeton University and has published articles on Homer, women’s oral genres, lament, pastoral poetry and, recently on Homeric reception in Byzantine literature and the theme of the ‘fall of cities.’ She is the author of "Voices at Work: Women, Performance and Labor" (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014); she has also co-authored a textbook on Modern Greek. Among other projects she is currently co-editing a volume on "Emotional Trauma and its Representations in Greek and Roman culture," (under contract with Rutledge). She is the editor of TAPA (Transactions of the American Philological Association), the flagship journal of the Society for Classical Studies.