Coetzee’s Traumatized Creatures: Toward a Post-Anthropocentric and Posthumanist Understanding of Trauma
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This thesis investigates what trauma theory would look like if it were more attuned to the creaturely residues of trauma. Through theorizing Freudian trauma theory and showing how its humanist focus is taken on by literary scholars, the thesis examines how the traditional approach of trauma that focuses on language and narrative could move towards a more affective and embodied approach that finds its origin in animal studies and its theorization of concepts like the creaturely, the open, vulnerability, woundedness, suffering and care. Through a close reading of three literary works by J.M. Coetzee (Disgrace, Life and Times of Michael K and Slow Man) the thesis argues that, whereas traditional trauma theory focuses on trauma as a construct of anthropological difference, it is also possible to approach trauma in a non humanist and anti-anthropocentric manner by means of body-based relations of caring for oneself and fellow creatures.