Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

W. Scott Howard, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Lydia Gil-Keff

Third Advisor

William Zaranka

Fourth Advisor

George Potts


Argentina, Armenia, Genocide, Holocaust, Testimony of atrocity, Trauma


For societies and cultures that experience mass torture and trauma, giving voice to the story of what happened is significant for both the specific individuals who have survived or witnessed the trauma, and the culture that is forced to process it and incorporate the experience into its collective identity. Testimonial literature that resulted from the detention and torture of desaparecidos under the military dictatorship in Argentina in the 1970s and 80s, and the genocide of the Armenian people in 1915, reveals many different approaches in the ways that people write about torture and trauma. In attempting to find a voice to describe trauma, which is inherently indescribable, accounts range from factual histories to artistic endeavors intended to capture the truth of the experience being related. For many survivors, telling their stories is an act of resistance against the perpetrators' attempts to silence them. Examining the voices of survivors and witnesses in the context of literary trauma theory and historiography allows the story itself to be considered in terms of the implications that it has for both those who tell it, and those who hear it. In the aftermath of trauma, the generations descending from the survivors are deeply affected by how the story of trauma has been transmitted through their families and cultures. It has powerful implications for both individual and collective identity, and this is vividly displayed in the gestures of memorialization, literature, and personal perspectives of those who live in post-traumatic cultures.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jennifer Rinaldi


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

214 p.


Literature, Cultural anthropology, History