Stef Craps

Stef Craps
Ghent University | UGhent · Department of Literary Studies

Doctor of Philosophy

About

92
Publications
89,427
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
812
Citations
Introduction
I am a professor of English literature at Ghent University, where I direct the Cultural Memory Studies Initiative, a research group that brings together scholars from across the humanities who work on issues of memory and trauma as mediated through culture. My research interests lie in twentieth-century and contemporary literature and culture, memory and trauma studies, postcolonial theory, and ecocriticism and environmental humanities. I am the author of Postcolonial Witnessing: Trauma Out of Bounds (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and Trauma and Ethics in the Novels of Graham Swift: No Short-Cuts to Salvation (Sussex Academic Press, 2005), a co-author of Trauma (Routledge, 2020), and a co-editor of Memory Unbound: Tracing the Dynamics of Memory Studies (Berghahn, 2017).

Publications

Publications (92)
Article
Full-text available
This essay explores a narrative device familiar from sci-fi and dystopian fiction that is commonly used in literary and cultural responses to climate change, and which is particularly suggestive for thinking through the implications of the Anthropocene for memory and the field of memory studies. Works as generically diverse as Franny Armstrong’s fi...
Article
Full-text available
Stef Craps is Associate Professor of English Literature at Ghent University, where he directs the Cultural Memory Studies Initiative (CMSI). He is an internationally recognised scholar whose research focuses on postcolonial literatures, trauma theory, transcultural Holocaust memory, and, more recently, climate change fiction. He has published widel...
Book
Full-text available
Trauma has become a catchword of our time and a central category in contemporary theory and criticism. In this illuminating and accessible volume, Lucy Bond and Stef Craps: - provide an account of the history of the concept of trauma from the late nineteenth century to the present day - examine debates around the term in their historical and cultu...
Article
Full-text available
Chapter
Full-text available
The increasing visibility of climate change and scientists’ alarming warnings about it are taking a toll on people’s mental well-being. This essay surveys the culturally resonant repertoire of new coinages that have emerged in recent years to name and communicate environmentally induced distress. It pays particular attention to the concept of pre-t...
Article
Full-text available
Working at the intersection of political science, ethnographic sociology, and contemporary historiography, Sarah Gensburger specializes in the social dynamics of memory. In this interview, she talks about her book Memory on My Doorstep: Chronicles of the Bataclan Neighborhood, Paris 2015-2016, which traces the evolving memorialization processes fol...
Article
Full-text available
In a range of environmentally oriented international novels, future cities in the Low Countries have been flooded, with Dutch populations relocated to higher grounds or to floating cities. In contemporary Dutch and Flemish fiction, however, reflections on cities by the water are few and far between. More conspicuously, in the few literary novels th...
Research
Full-text available
Confirmed keynote speakers: Professor Gabriele Dürbeck (University of Vechta) and Professor Kate Rigby (Bath Spa University) Confirmed writers: Gisèle Bienne and Francesca Melandri ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Since the 1980s, environmental issues have occupied a...
Research
Full-text available
The literary studies stream takes up the theme of decolonization, which has attracted renewed attention in the wake of the Rhodes Must Fall movement in Cape Town and Oxford. Contestations over the legacies of European colonialism have begun to coalesce around calls to “decolonize” public spaces, institutions, curricula, and forms of knowledge. Deco...
Article
Full-text available
Met het water al bijna aan de lippen vragen Stef Craps en Mahlu Mertens zich af of de klimaatopwarming Nederlandstalige fictieschrijvers niet een beetje te koud laat.
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we analyse two testimonial narratives written or published by Dave Eggers, an American author, editor, and publisher whose oeuvre shows a marked interest in harnessing the power of narrative to engage in human rights activism. Both narratives focus on the case of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian-American who suffered in the aftermath...
Chapter
Full-text available
This essay gives an overview of the central themes and formal features of Jeff Nichols’s cli-fi film Take Shelter (2011). It also provides insight into the film’s reception and contribution to public debate, as well as offering some teaching ideas.
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, scholarship on transnational or transcultural memory has become more clear-eyed about the limitations of remembering across national or cultural boundaries. The initial euphoria has dampened: critics these days are more likely to draw attention to factors that impede the flows of memory than to naïvely celebrate mnemonic mobility....
Chapter
Full-text available
Research
Full-text available
This special issue aims to explore the myriad ways in which environmental change wreaks havoc on the human psyche by bringing together essays on a wide range of psychological and affective responses to our dire environmental predicament. We welcome contributions from a variety of disciplines on the manifold theorizations, manifestations, and repres...
Article
Full-text available
Since the end of the twentieth century, strike-capable military drones have rapidly evolved from an ominous near-future technology, seldom discussed outside of science fiction or top-secret military contexts, to a burgeoning multi-billion dollar international industry at the centre of public scrutiny and interest. Meanwhile, the figure of the drone...
Article
Full-text available
The call for papers for this collection on “The Rising Tide of Climate Change Fiction” arose from concerns about pessimistic assessments, in recent literary criticism, of the novel’s ability to meet the representational challenges posed by the pressing planetary problem of climate change. The contributions to this volume take issue with that pessim...
Article
Full-text available
Fiction writers who try to do justice to the vast temporal and spatial scales and the enormous complexity of climate change are faced with the problem that the phenomenon exceeds human perception and that it is not dramatic in the traditional sense. In this article we explore the formal challenges that arise when fiction takes on the temporality of...
Article
Full-text available
Het Antropoceen is geen puur geologische aangelegenheid. Het concept mag dan wel uit de koker van “harde” wetenschappers zijn ontsproten; het zorgt ook voor grote bedrijvigheid bij “zachte” wetenschappers en cultuurmakers. Zij worstelen met de morele en existentiële vragen die het tijdperk van de mens oproept.
Research
Full-text available
Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD scholarship in the Department of Literary Studies at Ghent University, Belgium, tenable for a period of up to four years. The successful candidate will participate in the research project “Literature, Nature, and Ecology: An Ecopoetic Approach to Contemporary Narrative Prose in English, French, German...
Article
Full-text available
The essays gathered here are slightly revised versions of the position papers presented as part of the roundtable on “Memory Studies and the Anthropocene” at the MLA Convention in Philadelphia in January 2017. What sparked this roundtable is the increasing currency of the Anthropocene, on the one hand, and the observation that the field of memory s...
Article
Full-text available
This roundtable brings together a group of academics and artists working throughout Europe to discuss the question of memory in theoretical and artistic contexts at a historical moment highly preoccupied with acts of commemoration and moving memory.
Book
Full-text available
Though still a relatively young field, memory studies has undergone significant transformations since it first coalesced as an area of inquiry. Increasingly, scholars understand memory to be a fluid, dynamic, unbound phenomenon—a process rather than a reified object. Embodying just such an elastic approach, this state-of-the-field collection system...
Chapter
Full-text available
This introductory essay situates the four sections of the book in ongoing discussions on the methods, ethics, and politics of memory studies. Starting from the observation that memory is increasingly being studied as a dynamic process rather than a static product, it identifies the four main dimensions of mnemonic mobility in a globalized and digit...
Article
Full-text available
http://memories-testimony.com/notice/grey-zone-2/
Article
Full-text available
This article compares Dave Eggers's What Is the What and Invisible Children's Kony 2012, two recent and much-debated instances of human rights advocacy that mobilize subaltern testimonies. They do so in mutually illuminating ways, as they interact quite differently with the neocolonial discourses that come into play as Western activists and audienc...
Article
Full-text available
This round-table, which featured literary critics Professor Stef Craps, Professor Bryan Cheyette and Dr. Alan Gibbs, was recorded as part of the “Decolonizing Trauma Studies” symposium organized by Dr. Sonya Andermahr and Dr. Larissa Allwork at The School of The Arts, The University of Northampton (15 May 2015). Convened a week after the University...
Article
Full-text available
On 18 March 2015 we had the rare opportunity to publicly interview the celebrated American author Dave Eggers and Mimi Lok, co-founder with Eggers of the socially engaged oral history non-profit Voice of Witness, in front of a student audience at the Vooruit cultural center in Ghent, Belgium. The occasion for their visit was Eggers’s being awarded...
Article
Full-text available
There exists a conceptual parallel between psychological accounts of psychic trauma on the one hand, and French philosopher Alain Badiou’s notion of the event on the other: both are defined by a relation of incommensurability or excessiveness with regard to the pre-existent context or system. Further development of this parallel, i.e., viewing trau...
Article
Full-text available
The Freudian concept of Nachträglichkeit is central to the psychoanalytical understanding of trauma. However, it has not received much attention within the contemporary field of trauma studies. This paper attempts to reconstruct the logic inherent to this concept by examining Freud’s remarks on the case of Emma. Furthermore, it is argued that Nacht...
Article
Full-text available
The ‘grey zone’ is a term coined by the Italian Holocaust survivor Primo Levi in his essay collection The Drowned and the Saved (1989; originally published in Italian in 1986), the last book he completed before his death. In ‘The Grey Zone’, the second chapter and the longest essay in the book, Levi acknowledges the human need to divide the social...
Article
Full-text available
Just as books and films about traumatic events have become part of Western popular culture, so the theme of trauma and its accompanying tropes have been seeping into video games over the last two decades. In spite of the discernible trauma trend within video games, however, and the potential they exhibit for representing trauma in new ways, they ha...
Chapter
Full-text available
Despite a stated commitment to cross-cultural solidarity, trauma theory – an area of cultural investigation that emerged out of the “ethical turn” affecting the humanities in the 1990s – is marked by a Eurocentric, monocultural bias. In this chapter, I take issue with the tendency of the founding texts of the field to marginalize or ignore traumati...
Article
Full-text available
Argue that the artistic projects of the US-American author, activist, and editor Dave Eggers are marked by a tension between the desire for independence and the demands of brand-building. The article offers a close analysis of the materiality and paratexts of one particular issue of McSweeney's, the literary magazine of which Eggers is the founding...
Article
Full-text available
This essay interrogates the nature, limits, and effects of the juxtaposition of Great Britain and Melanesia that takes place in Pat Barker’s The Ghost Road (1995), the final installment of the much-lauded Regeneration trilogy. Published two years before the handover of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China, which marked the unofficial end of...
Chapter
In this chapter, I will investigate the links forged between memories of black and Jewish suffering in the fiction and non-fiction of the British Caribbean writer Caryl Phillips, one master of the genre Rebecca Walkowitz has called “comparison literature.”1 In his novels Higher Ground (1989) and The Nature of Blood (1997), as well as in his travel...
Chapter
I have argued that trauma theory needs to become more inclusive and culturally sensitive by acknowledging the sufferings of non-Western and minority groups more fully, for their own sake, and on their own terms. In this chapter, I will address the textual inscription of such experiences and suggest that certain received ideas and assumptions about...
Chapter
In this book, I have tried to expose the limitations and blind spots that I think trauma theory will need to confront if it is to deliver on its promise of cross-cultural ethical engagement. To some extent, this is already happening. Though in the early stages of its development trauma theory focused predominantly on the Holocaust, in recent years...
Chapter
As Rebecca Saunders points out, “while trauma theory has primarily been produced in Europe and the United States, trauma itself has, with equal if not greater regularity and urgency, been experienced elsewhere” (15). However, most attention within trauma theory has been devoted to events that took place in Europe or the United States, especially th...
Chapter
Today the concept of trauma is widely used to describe responses to extreme events across space and time, as well as to guide their treatment. However, as Allan Young reminds us in The Harmony of Illusions: Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (1995), it is actually a Western artefact, “invented” in the late nineteenth century: “The disorder is...
Chapter
Just as Magona’s novel can be read as a critique of the TRC’s tendency—which it shares with trauma theory in its classical formulation—to map Western conceptions of trauma straightforwardly onto an apartheid-colonial situation, so the two literary works that I will look at next can be seen to challenge traditional understandings of trauma, mourning...
Chapter
Considered in terms of a struggle over definitions of trauma and recovery, the work of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the criticisms levelled against it, and the literary response it has evoked shed an interesting light on the debate over the monocultural bias of trauma theory in its “classical,” mid-1990s formulation...
Chapter
If, as Cathy Caruth observes in Unclaimed Experience, “history, like trauma, is never simply one’s own, … history is precisely the way we are implicated in each other’s traumas” (24), then traumatic colonial histories not only have to be acknowledged more fully, on their own terms, and in their own terms, but they also have to be considered in rela...
Chapter
This chapter will examine the mnemonic connections established between the Holocaust and histories of (post)colonial suffering in Anita Desai’s Baumgartner’s Bombay (1998 [1988]), another novel which reflects and elicits a relational understanding of trauma. Baumgartner’s Bombay recounts the tragic life and violent death of Hugo Baumgartner, a Jew...
Book
Full-text available
Despite a stated commitment to cross-cultural solidarity, trauma theory – an area of cultural investigation that emerged out of the “ethical turn” affecting the humanities in the 1990s – is marked by a Eurocentric, monocultural bias. This book takes issue with the tendency of the founding texts of the field to marginalize or ignore traumatic experi...
Article
Full-text available
During the 1980s, memory emerged as an urgent topic of debate in the humanities. By now, a great deal of research has been devoted to collective memory, a term developed by Maurice Halbwachs in the 1920s to denote collectively shared representations of the past,1 or cultural memory, a related concept coined by Jan Assmann in the 1980s that stresses...
Article
Full-text available
Michael Chabon’s novella The Final Solution (2004), which first appeared in the Paris Review in 2003 with the subtitle A Story of Detection, lends itself to being interpreted as an allegory of man’s futile quest for understanding of the Holocaust.1 In this reading, the detective story that the novella recounts against the background of the Nazi ext...
Article
Full-text available
The past is never dead. It's not even past. Jacques Derrida's reflections on spectrality and mourning suggest a productive and responsible way of engaging with unresolved histories of racial and ethnic oppression. In this essay, I will draw on the Derridean concepts of "hauntology" and "mid-mourning" to analyze how two literary works by contemporar...
Article
Full-text available
Considering the work of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the criticisms levelled against it, and the literary response it has evoked in terms of a struggle over definitions of trauma and recovery can help the debate over the perceived monocultural bias of trauma theory in its 'classical', mid-1990s formulation and the fr...
Article
Full-text available
The poetry of Eavan Boland, Ireland’s leading woman poet, is marked by an acute awareness of the problems attendant on the recovery of the experience of subaltern or oppressed women. Rather than usurping the place of the other and presuming to speak for her, Boland’s work stages the poet’s attempt to gain access to the experience of the other and p...
Article
Full-text available
Graham Swift is one of the most successful and respected novelists writing in contemporary Britain. Since 1980 he has published eight novels, a collection of short stories, and a nonfiction book. His work has garnered critical acclaim and literary prizes, and it has won a large and appreciative audience throughout the English-speaking world and bey...
Chapter
Full-text available
“Kew Gardens”“The Legacy”References and Further Reading
Article
Full-text available
Trauma studies, an area of cultural investigation that came to prominence in the early-to-mid-1990s, prides itself on its explicit commitment to ethics, which sets it apart from the poststructuralist criticism of the 1970s and early 1980s in which it has its roots. Standing accused of irrelevance or indifference to “real-world” issues such as histo...
Article
Full-text available
The work of the British-Caribbean writer Caryl Phillips provides a notable literary instantiation of Cathy Caruth’s claim that “trauma itself may provide the very link between cultures” (“Trauma” 11), a claim that, though central to trauma theory’s ethical agenda, is hardly borne out by the practice of the field, which is still largely Eurocentric....
Article
Full-text available
The events of 11 September 2001 caused a rupture not only in the normal order of things but also, and perhaps especially, in the signifying systems underwriting that order. The Naudet brothers' remarkable 9/11 documentary, which aired on CBS on 10 March 2002 and on TV stations around the world on the first anniversary of the attacks, seeks to reins...
Article
Full-text available
Criticism of British postmodern realist fiction has long been marked by an almost'total disregard for ethics. The reason why critics investigating the antirepresentational strategies characterizing the work of such writers as Peter Ackroyd, Martin Amis, Julian Barnes and Graham Swift have for the most part remained silent about its ethical status i...
Article
Full-text available
What costs humanity very dearly is doubtless to believe that one can have done in history with a general essence of Man, on the pretext that it represents only a Hauptgespenst, arch-ghost, but also, what comes down to the same thing?at bottom?to still believe, no doubt, in this capital ghost. To believe in it as do the credulous or the dogmatic. Be...

Network

Cited By