Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
© 2017 Felicia M Agrelius
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.
Agrelius, Felicia, "Materializing Trauma: Ceramic Embodiment, Environmental Violence, and the Colonial Legacies Of Mount Baldy" (2017). Scripps Senior Theses. 1017.