Graduation Year

2017

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Reader 1

Nicole Seisler

Reader 2

Jih-Fei Cheng

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2017 Felicia M Agrelius

Abstract

In this project I argue that trauma is a major component of society. Rather than positioning trauma as an event, I contend that it should be understood as an environmental force. To form this reorientation I look to an actual environment and the ways in which it remembers and responds to systemic violence. Specifically, I track the colonization and exploitation of Mount Baldy, and how natural occurrences such as floods and fires have consistently threatened human development on the mountain. If trauma is both monumentally impactful and an environmental force, then it merits a major rethinking of many of the aspects of human existence that are assumed to be stable. In chapter 1, I move trauma outside of the psychological definitions of the DSM and into a communal and systemic framework. In chapter 2, I use a case study of Mount Baldy to understand how environmental forces react to trauma, which provides a way to imagine how a society or community might collectively operate as a traumatized being. In chapter 3, I undertake a material research process using clay harvested from Mount Baldy. Clay, which mimics characteristics of the human body and is literally a part of the natural environment, connects the embodied nature of trauma for human to the ecological manifestations of trauma. This allows a glimpse at what it might mean to acknowledge trauma as a major component of the human experience.

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