This seminar examines the intersections between the law, trauma, and testimony, arguing that the law has increasingly come to recognise the breadth of experience, and range of narrative iterations, that may constitute trauma.
The discussion commences with a consideration of Shoshanna Felman’s re-reading of a witness’s ‘failed’ testimony in Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963), arguing that Felman identifies important characteristics housed within the witness’s apparently unsuccessful narrative, and that paradoxically communicate the trauma therein.
The presentation then turns to the long-standing relationship between the law and images, before focusing on the representation of the law in selected comics from the twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Here, the discussion focuses on the comics “Villawood: Notes from an Immigration Detention Centre” (2015) by Safdar Ahmed, and Henry Yoshitaka Kiyama’s Four Immigrants Manga (1931). These examples are designed to highlight the way that comics represent the law through critique, and visualization, among other features.