Valuing the Witness: Typologies of Testimony

  • Meg JensenEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Life Writing book series (PSLW)


Jensen provides a detailed analysis of the category of the witness in the context of trauma, via testimony composed in response to disaster, terrorism, and genocide. Drawing on testimonial case studies from witnesses to the Holocaust, the Anfal, the Armenian and Rwandan genocides, the Challenger disaster and the terror attacks at Brussels Airport, Jensen identifies a series of dialectical frames that influence how private witnessing becomes public speech: Memory Effects, Dialogue Effects, and the effects of Procurement for Specific Audiences. Uniquely, Jensen maps the complex interactions of these interdisciplinary frames (psychological, biological, historical, political, and cultural) illustrating how these inform what witnesses say and how they are heard. Valuing the Witness concludes that the witness statement in the context of post-conflict survivor testimony, is always also a palimpsest: a layering of cause and effect under pressure from external social/historical challenges as well as idiosyncratic life experiences and powerful bodily sensations.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kingston UniversityKingston upon ThamesUK

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