Henry Morello: Writing

My manuscript Posttraumatic Culture in Spanish and Latin American Theatre, examines the role of historical memory, national amnesia, and mourning as cultural formations for mediating violence and social conflict in Latin America and Spain. In it I propose that theatre, which is both public and communal, reveals and attends to the mass psychological effects of state violence.  I examine a range of plays from Argentina, Chile, and Spain that share, regardless of time and place, a common set of aesthetic and stylistic practices.  These plays exemplify what I call “posttraumatic theatre” insofar as they emulate and ameliorate the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder--such as the inability to create a coherent narrative of the trauma coupled with the obsessive desire to do so, the avoidance of detail coupled with excessive repetition, and the disruption as well as the dependence on memory as a means to healing.  Consequently, I argue that these works both depend on and contribute to an intersecting critical method that brings together psychoanalysis, cognitive psychology, and cultural theory into conversation.


Other recent projects include:

“Time and Trauma in Ricardo Piglia’s The Absent City.The Comparatist. 37 (May 2013). This essay looks at what happens to narrative time within the context of a posttraumatic text.


I turn to music in “Aterciopelados’ Musical Testimony: Bearing Witness to Colombia’s Traumas.” Studies in Latin American Popular Culture. 30 (2012), to examine how the practices of posttraumatic culture are adopted and adapted by a different genre. This article was awarded teh Carlos and Guillermo Vigil Prize for best Article in Studies in Latin American Popular Culture 2012.

From the editors: “This is a very thoughtful and provocative paper, presenting a detailed analysis of wide-ranging musical themes and styles. The author offers a complex but illuminating intertextual reading of both music and lyrics and does so in a very accessible way. The author’s locating Aterciopelados within a paradigm of national trauma, protest, and punk is captivating.”


In "Two Traumas One Aesthetic in Walsh's Operación Masacre and Kaufman's The Laramie Project" I analyze the stylistic similarities of Walsh's and Kaufman's texts. Walsh's 1957 testimonio, Operación masacre, was written as a response to the politically motivated violence perpetrated by the military government after the overthrow of Juan Perón, specifically the kidnapping and murder of a group of men thought to be Peronist sympathizers. In 1998 Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project created The Laramie Project, a play about the reactions of the people of Laramie to the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, which was motivated by his sexual orientation. Although these traumatic events could not be more distinct, there are intriguing parallels between these texts and the traumas that preceded them, which make these texts prime exemplars of what I call posttraumatic literature. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 13.1 (2011)


“Autobiographical Fantasies:” Identity Construction in a Virtual World” is a break from trauma to look at the way identity is structured in online gaming and what can be learned from that experience in our actual lives as well as the creation of identity in online learning. Americana: American Popular Culture.com.(January 2012).


Another look at the online experience can be found in “e-(re)volution: Zapatistas and the Emancipatory Internet.” In this essay, I examine the use of the internet by Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatistas. A Contracorriente, 4.2 (2007): 54-76.