Chapter

Cultural Trauma: Slavery and the Formation of African American Identity

Ron Eyerman

in Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780520235946
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936768 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520235946.003.0003
Cultural Trauma: Slavery and the Formation of African American Identity

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The trauma in question is slavery, which can be connected to collective memory, a form of remembrance which grounded the identity-formation of a person. There is a distinction between trauma as it affects individuals and as a cultural process. In a cultural process, trauma is connected to the build-up of collective identity and the construction of collective memory. The view of a unique African American identity emerged in the post-Civil War period, after slavery had been abolished. The trauma of forced servitude and of nearly complete subordination to the will and whims of another was not necessarily something directly experienced by many of the subjects of this study, but came to be central to their attempts to forge a collective identity out of its remembrance.

Keywords: African American; identity; slavery; collective memory; trauma

Chapter.  22287 words. 

Subjects: Social Theory

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