Frida Kahlo: Trauma, Abjection, and Affect


This chapter defines and discusses theories of trauma, the abject and affect. At the beginning of each section a definition of trauma is repeated. In each repeated statement a different word/s is highlighted and discussed in that section. The purpose of this structure is to show the close connection between trauma, the abject and affect. Each subsection emphasises specific words in the definition that relate to each theory and, as a whole, accentuates the symmetry of the terms and their dependence on one another. Collective trauma, memory and nostalgia are also discussed as well as food loathing, the corpse and intersex genitalia because, in Kahlo’s work, these concepts intersect with the three main concepts discussed in this chapter. I then locate the connections between these concepts and show that trauma becomes visualised by the abject which becomes the foundation for understanding the affective power of Kahlo’s work. 

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