Timelines, Trauma, Temporality

Photo of two characters from Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

I'm teaching Banned Books and Novel Ideas this year, and most of the books I've chosen focus on the experience of trauma, whether on the level of the individual or the mass. One of the ways that I explain the concept of trauma to my class is by referring to Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle, in which he explains the concept of the repetition compulsion as a response to traumatic experiences. The repetition compulsion manifests as a constant reliving of the trauma, often taking the form of dreams or nightmares, daydreams, or even subconscious actions.

Mapping Community

Old illustrated map of Austin, Texas

In my RHE 309S: Critical Reading and Persuasive Writing course at UT Austin, my students are spending the semester studying communities of their choice. The first paper asked students to "map" their community, charting the people, places, events, social practices, and issues that help the community define and organize itself while also examining arguments made about the community. This assignment resembles one of our main first-year writing assignments which asks students to map the arguments made in response to a specific critical situation or issue.


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