Cathy Caruth

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Professor

Cathy Caruth
Cathy II.jpg
Dr. Caruth in her office, Goldwin Smith Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (2017)
Born
Catherine Lynne Caruth

December 1955
Known forUnclaimed Experience (1996)
TitleClass of 1916 Professor of English
Academic background
Education
Alma materYale University
Thesis'Empirical Truths and Critical Fictions: Locke, Wordsworth, Kant, Freud' (1989)
Influences
Academic work
DisciplinePsychoanalytic theory
Sub-discipline
Institutions
Notable students
Main interests

Cathy Caruth (born 1955) succeeded Jonathan Culler as Class of 1916 Professor of English at Cornell University, where she holds appointments in the departments of Literatures in English and Comparative Literature. After graduating cum laude from Princeton University, she received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Yale. Before coming to Cornell, she taught at Yale, then Emory, where she developed an archive of Holocaust testimony, co-organized a national interdisciplinary conference on trauma, and significantly expanded the graduate program in Comparative Literature.[1]

Robert Jay Lifton, M.D. has described Caruth as “one of the most innovative scholars on what we call trauma, and on our ways of perceiving and conceptualizing that still mysterious phenomenon.” According to Jonathan Culler, she was "the first to realize the importance of trauma theory for the humanities. Working closely with psychoanalysts and psychologists to bring techniques of literary interpretation to bear on questions about the meaning of survival, and the nature of witnessing, she edited two historically important issues of American Imago on Psychoanalysis, Culture and Trauma. Exploring trauma as a model for thinking about relations between history and experience, her books have made her a leader in this field which she partly created.” [2] For a good discussion of Caruth's highly influential work on trauma theory, see The Trauma Question. Routledge. 2013. ISBN 978-1-136-01502-1., 4–5, and The Juridical Unconscious: Trials and Traumas in the Twentieth Century. Harvard. 2002. ISBN 978-0-674-00931-8., 173–182, n.3.

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