Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer


Volume 36, Number 1 (2015)

Diamanda Galás and Amanda Todd: Performing Trauma’s Sticky Connections

July 10, 2015
March 25, 2015


Though trauma transgresses borders and produces displacements, too often its study and the treatment of its harmful affects contain it historically, geographically, and institutionally. In the process, trauma becomes dislocated from the larger affective economies through which it is produced. Following the lead of feminist and queer studies scholars, Ann Cvetkovich and Sara Ahmed, Helene brings together two performances—Diamanda Galás’s Defixiones, Will and Testament: Orders from the Dead , and Amanda Todd’s My Story: Struggling, bullying, suicide and self harm —to illuminate sticky connections across the geopolitical particularities of violently produced trauma. She proposes that Galás’s and Todd’s performances of two radically disparate traumas—genocide and sexual assault—need to be understood as contemporary variations of traditional laments that use embodied affective expression to communicate the overwhelming and “inarticulate grief” associated with the trauma of loss and violation (Holst-Warhaft Cue 4). With this essay, Vosters aspires not only to bring Galás and Todd into dialogue, but also to join with them as part of an interdisciplinary and polyphonic chorus of lament against the forgetfulness of trauma’s production.