The Trauma Consensus: History Method in the ‘Age of Trauma Special Issue, “Rethinking Trauma: Witnessing Across History, Culture, and Time,” Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, Vol. 31, No. 5 (October 2017)

Trauma has the potential to change the way we understand, research, and write the histories of settler colonial societies. Indigenous and African-American psychologists and sociologists have used trauma to develop the diagnoses of American Indian Historical Trauma (AI HT) and Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome (PTSS). A growing awareness of trauma with the increased
prevalence of trauma-related disorders (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD) offers historians and other social scientists an opportunity to establish a new consensus based on the shared historical trauma of the descendants of colonization and empire-building. This essay argues for the necessity of such a new consensus, and then, drawing on psychology, anthropology, literary studies, and historical theory, posits a new ‘trauma methodology’ for the creation of the histories of settler colonial societies, which includes the assessment of subject matter, research methods, timeline, and writing.