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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Deborah Porter
CHID 498
Seattle Campus

Special Colloquia

Each colloquium examines a different subject or problem from a comparative framework. A list of topics is available from the CHID office.

Class description

This course explores the relation of trauma to memory and cultural production, focusing on historical, literary and filmic treatments of hysteria and repression, shell shock, and the effects of war, terrorism, and psychic trauma. By locating and understanding the term "trauma," both in clinical and common use, students will learn that trauma is a concept that applies to individual experience but which has a social dimension that shifts and evolves as well. Students will be exposed to different theoretical models of psychoanalysis as well as the means by which the theoretical models have and can be applied to the interpretation of texts, films and social and cultural phenomena. The emphasis of the course will be on using psychoanalytical theory to tease out and closely analyze the tacit commentary on international issues that lies in the texts, films and phenomena examined.

Student learning goals

Read critically

Develop interpretive positions

Write articulate analyses of films

General method of instruction

This course will be taught as a seminar. Weekly readings, viewings (of films) and discussion responsibilities will be assigned. Students will write 2 page summaries of the readings and 2 page position papers in which a tentative interpretation for the film will be sketched. In addition, the class will be divided into 4 groups, each of which will be responsible for preparing and presenting in class an IN DEPTH reading/analysis of a film. Preparation for the presentation will require multiple viewings of the film, and research that might be necessary to substantiate the analysis.

Recommended preparation

Intellectual curiosity!

Class assignments and grading

Grades will be based on summaries of the readings (20%), position papers on the films --excepting the one that you analyze for class presentation (15%), class presentation (30%), and a final seminar paper (35%). The paper will consist of a psychoanalytic reading of Alejandro Amenabar’s “The Others.”


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Deborah Porter
Date: 10/26/2012