saturday morning coffee and colonial violence

Octombrie 15, 2011 § Lasă un comentariu

Currently reading thisHistorical fiction and the allegorical truth of colonial violence  in the Proposition, which is uber satisfying not only my longing for this Aussie neo-western masterpiece of a film, but also the rekindled interest in scouting the internet for dissertation papers and articles on revisionist historical films.


„(…) holocaustal events, which function ‘exactly as infantile traumas [… ] cannot be simply forgotten or put out of mind, but neither can they be adequately remembered’ (20). The traumatic structure or ‘modernist de-realisation’ of such an event, and the difficulty it poses for those who inherit it and those who try to represent it, is said to lead either to the seductions of myth and melodrama (26) in popular genres, or to fantasies of ‘intellectual mastery’ in modernist narratives (32).

Rejecting the modern electronic media’s recorded images as manipulations which ‘explode1 the event (23), White concludes that, anti-narrative non-stories produced by literary modernism offer the only prospect for adequate representations of the kinds of ‘unnatural’ events-including the Holocaust-that mark our era and distinguish it absolutely from all of the ‘history’ that has come before it. (32)

Historians engaged with cinema have questioned White’s claim that only modernist literary techniques have the potential to de-fetishise ‘both events and fantasy accounts of them which deny the threat they pose’ (32). Rosenstone, for instance, has become the champion of a postmodern canon of history films that, among other things, ‘glory in their own selectivity’ and make sense of past events ‘in a partial and open-ended, rather than totalised, manner’, making use of ‘fragmentary and/or poetic knowledge’.21 But he goes further than creating a new, highly selective canon: he claims that the postmodern, self-reflexive history film, with its contradictory elements and multiple points of view, has much to teach historians, especially those social and cultural historians who recognise the need for a postmodern historiography but, so far, have failed to find a postmodern form.22″ / Felicity Collins, Cultural Studies Review, March 2008


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