Archives, such as libraries, museums, or memorials, are typically repositories of memory. But archives may also be experienced as somatized trauma, for example, in survivors of genocide, where transmitted memory becomes the material “object” of intergenerational trauma. Transmitted trauma elides categorical distinctions of first-and second-order autobiographical memory, or memory and story. Thus survivors’ stories seem descendants’ memories. Previous scholarship discusses collective and post-memory but does not explain descendants’ trauma embodiment and how corporeal and psychic traumas reproduce specific events and their original responses. This article reveals how elisions of memory and story produce pathologies of embodiment in post-Shoah generations. Interrogating construction of physical bodies as archives, memory, and story, the article demonstrates how corporeality, memory, and trauma become a new narrative of transmission. Survivor souvenirs depict cultural memory, and survivors’ bodies are metonyms of material archives. Collective cultural memory consists of (re)placements of trauma, bodily archived through unspoken and unseen mechanisms of intergenerational transmission.
Rob Baum; The Body as Archive: The Shoah and the Story (Not) Told. Poetics Today 1 December 2017; 38 (4): 667–693. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-4184289
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