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Humanities 2015, 4(4), 523-534; doi:10.3390/h4040523

Decolonizing Trauma: A Study of Multidirectional Memory in Zadie Smith’s “The Embassy of Cambodia”

Department of English and German Philology, University of Zaragoza, Calle Pedro Cerbuna 12, 50012 Zaragoza, Spain
Academic Editor: Sonya Andermahr
Received: 30 July 2015 / Revised: 22 September 2015 / Accepted: 24 September 2015 / Published: 29 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decolonizing Trauma Studies: Trauma and Postcolonialism)
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Abstract

The present article analyses Zadie Smith’s short story “The Embassy of Cambodia” (2013) as a narrative that contributes to the decolonization of trauma studies. In the introduction I will lay out briefly the state of affairs in trauma studies and the relevance of trauma in Smith’s work as represented in White Teeth and NW. For the purpose of this paper, I will provide a close reading of “The Embassy of Cambodia” and I will rely on Michael Rothberg’s theory of multidirectional memory to illustrate how the history of genocide in Cambodia and the history of the protagonist of the story, which is effectively one of slavery, conflate in Smith’s text to bring to the fore silenced histories in a more ethical manner that seeks to put an end to competition and hierarchies within traumatic histories and trauma theory. This paper will explore the different juxtapositions that the story offers between individual and collective experiences of trauma and, in its explorations of multidirectional memory, the juxtaposition of collective histories of suffering. View Full-Text
Keywords: Zadie Smith; trauma; multidirectional memory; decolonization Zadie Smith; trauma; multidirectional memory; decolonization
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Zapata, B.P. Decolonizing Trauma: A Study of Multidirectional Memory in Zadie Smith’s “The Embassy of Cambodia”. Humanities 2015, 4, 523-534.

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