Publication Date

April 2017


Elizabeth McAlister




English (United States)


This thesis examines narratives of redemption at the hearts of Christianity, the American Dream, and trauma studies and identifies resonating concepts among these triangulated fields. When confronted with trauma that cannot simply go away or fade into the past, Christian theologians and American progressive thinkers must reimagine redemption to account for both the non-linear time of traumatic narratives and the ethical imperative to respond to traumatic suffering. By exploring a survey of trauma studies literature, a small but growing number of contemporary theologies of trauma, and a case study of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, I argue that both trauma (as it is theorized) and redemption are intrinsically narrative concerns, especially in the United States texts that I examine, and that close attention to their narrative mechanics denaturalizes the worldviews that they maintain and reveals the political content of their forms themselves.



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