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Benjamin, J. (2011). Acknowledgment of Collective Trauma in Light of Dissociation and Dehumanization. Psychoanal. Perspect., 8(2):207-214.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 8(2):207-214

Acknowledgment of Collective Trauma in Light of Dissociation and Dehumanization

Jessica Benjamin

My response to chana ullman's very thoughtful and poignant paper is complex. It has special emotional valence for me, as she and I participated together in a joint project involving witnessing and acknowledgment between Jewish and Palestinian Israelis as well as Palestinians from Occupied Territory. Given how vital this theme is, I can hardly begin to do justice to her treatment of it, so I will do my best to explore how Ullman's perspective on witnessing might link up to ideas about recognition and acknowledgment that I have used throughout my work. Recognition is a wide roof sheltering many different phenomena, including the two that Ullman emphasizes: witnessing and acknowledging realities that are often denied. Our work, as Gerson (2009) so powerfully articulated, lies between the poles of witnessing and denial (see also Cohen, 2001).

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