The Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma Through Distributed, Mediated Visions of Memory in 2nd Generation Canadian Chinese Experience

To, Nathan M. L.. 2014. The Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma Through Distributed, Mediated Visions of Memory in 2nd Generation Canadian Chinese Experience. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The sheer affective force of trauma from a 20th century Chinese history filled with the scars of war, chaos, poverty, famine, and disaster, transmits across ethnic Chinese Canadian diasporas through (un)conscious silences and remembrances. Diasporic visions of memory that embody these traumatic histories can become entangled through affective, discursive, and hegemonic forces that include: a) transgenerational hauntings through the transmission of affective intensities across social links, familial bodies and collective diasporas b) the tension of ‘blurring’ boundaries between history, testimony and fantasy c) official memory productions across media d) and the hegemony of nation-state power concerning which ‘historical ‘wounds’ are chosen or silenced for public consumption and transnational distribution. My research questions include: How does the transmission of trauma affectively pass from one generation to the next? What ‘methods of seeing’ can diasporic ethnic Chinese employ to crystallize invisible histories and lost traumas? How can Chinese Canadians engage problematic, mediated visions of the past and develop a reflexivity that both ‘sees’ haunted histories and critically defies the power problematics within memory production?

For Chinese-Canadians, those compelled to seek out the histories of our migrant parents/grandparents are left with fragmented, silenced memories. Narratives of an era filled with trauma are expressed as ‘moral lessons’ and/or ‘Confucian’ virtues. Access to histories for postgeneration Chinese-Canadians, therefore, is dependent on a diasporic vision that assemblages multiple ways of ‘seeing’ the gaps in trauma through mediated memory, including: the memories of elder generations, memoirs, moving images, and artworks and multimedia installations. My research intentionally subverts traditional research methods that incorporate critical approaches that juxtapose mediations of memory, defying the problematics of power and memory production. Through a critically reflexive autoethnographic approach, I perform a ‘staging’ of the 2nd generation Canadian Chinese experience by composing a diasporic montage of data and im/material hauntings.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00010605

Keywords:

Trauma, memory, diaspora, media, affect, intergenerational transmission, Canadian Chinese, cultural identity, autoethnography

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies

Date:

4 September 2014

Item ID:

10605

Date Deposited:

05 Sep 2014 11:38

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:00

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/10605

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