Call for Papers- MMLA -DUE JUNE 15 - Technology and Trauma in Modern War Writing

full name / name of organization: 
Travis Martin - Midwest Modern Language Association
contact email: 

Technology and Trauma in Modern War Writing

No one likes the Facebook Timeline. It mingles the past and the present in a hodge-podge of fragments that make little sense to the casual observer. But this is exactly what it is like for a war veteran whose mind is still trying to make sense of the dislodged fragments of wartime trauma. Both social media and trauma have saturated the modern battlefield. Colby Buzzell's 2005 blook (blog turned into a book) My War: Killing Time in Iraq gained him national attention because of one post, "Men in Black," where the he describes an intense battle with insurgents in the heart of Mosul. He blogs about the event than 24 hours later, relating that he has since put the events of that day in a shoebox never to open it again. .

Veterans of previous generations also tried to place their wars in shoeboxes. But they lacked the immediacy provided to Buzzell through the blog. Attempts to repress trauma often end with flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and the development of any number of mental "disorders" that emerge as the mind works to structure the fragmented memories and identities created by war. This session will seek answers about the impact of technological immediacy upon the war memoir as a genre and therapeutic endeavor. Papers might deal with specific war memoirs to emerge from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military-themed blogs, therapeutic endeavors that use blogging as a tool, the historical and cultural differences between modern social media and the letters and diaries of previous wars, reevaluations of trauma theory or psychoanalytic readings of texts (defined broadly) in light of media saturation and access on the front lines. However, we do not wish to limit the topics to those outlined here..

Please send 250-word abstracts and a brief CV to by July 2nd..

Chair: Travis Martin, University of Kentucky/Eastern Kentucky University