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ERIC Number: EJ799168
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-1356-9783
The Intersubjective Witness: Trauma Testimony in Towfiq Al-Qady's "Nothing but Nothing--One Refugee's Story"
Cox, Emma
Research in Drama Education, v13 n2 p193-198 Jun 2008
Testimony typically privileges singular subjectivity; as a means of representing psychological trauma, it is thought to bear witness to an individual's unique experience. This essay interrogates the question of singular subjectivity, arguing that a community can be the nexus around which witnesses "gather" the human and historiographical significance of their experiences, focusing their constitutive relationship with those of and for whom the testimony is spoken. I examine this idea with reference to Towfiq Al-Qady's autobiographical solo performance, "Nothing But Nothing: One Refugee's Story", first presented in Brisbane in 2005. Al-Qady constructs a fluid, unstable (inter)subjectivity, performing as and speaking about his mother, lover, daughter and his child and adult selves, as well as speaking for other communities with which his experience connects. While the decentralisation of the individual witness highlights possibilities for encounter and communication, it can be problematic in terms of witness agency and risks de-specifying individual experience. This problem focuses the tensions and slippages between self and other(s), "truth" and "fiction", that inhere in testimonial acts. I investigate the extent to which "Nothing But Nothing" enables "effectual generalisation", whereby lines of community engagement are drawn up across the divide between asylum seekers/refugees and Australian audiences. (Contains 4 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia