We the editors of JAF are excited about issue 496. Each of the principal pieces in the issue—those by Carl Lindahl, by Fei-wen Liu, by Danusha Goska and by the team of Margaret Duffy, Janis Teruggi Page, and Rachel Young—came to us independently. They come from very different scholars writing about very different situations. Yet, as these works came through the pipeline, we quickly came to see that they all addressed similar issues, i.e., that they spoke to each other in interesting ways. And so, we decided to bundle them into a single issue—one that we came to call in-house the TRAUMA ISSUE. Open your JAF and you’ll find folklorists addressing messy, painful situations and exploring the ways in which people represent trauma in their expressive culture. Folklore becomes the tool, or the victim, of politics, and ordinary people stake out claims for themselves—for the validity of their experience or the cogency of their viewpoints—through the stories they tell, the jokes they pass along, the songs they sing, the art they make. Of course, representing trauma can be traumatic. And we wondered what our readers would think of the materials: how many wounds can a single issue open? But then we thought of Jim’s wry warning in our opening issue as co-editors, a phrase proverbial among newspapermen, that we intended to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” And we said "Heck, let’s see what they say.” So now it’s your turn. Use this space to comment on these contributions to our field, to agree or disagree with their findings, to offer supporting examples or counters—to tell us what you think.
We have asked Tim Tangherlini to lead off. Tim has written his own great book, appropriately entitled Talking Trauma (University of Mississippi Press, 1998) and he will no doubt have valuable perspectives on these pieces.
trauma Lindahl Liu Goska Tangherlini