Author Maria Tumarkin coined the phrase Traumascapes: Quote: “In the world we inhabit, traumascapes are everywhere. They are the physical sites of terror attacks, natural and industrial catastrophes, genocide, exile, ecological degradation, and communal loss of heart. Yet far from being mere backdrops to cataclysms, traumascapes are a distinctive category of place, transformed physically and psychically by suffering.”and “Traumascapes hold the key to our ability to endure and find meaning in modern day tragedies and the legacies they leave behind.”
“In a time when terror and tragedy flourish these locations exhibit a compelling power, drawing pilgrims and tourists from around the world who want to understand the meaning of the traumatic events that unfolded there. In traumascapes, life goes on but the past is still unfinished business.”
The Dozier punishment building fits her description, a place where thousands of boys 7-17 were tortured by flogging from 1900 to 1968.
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Maria Tumarkin grew up in the old Soviet Union, and emigrated to Australia as a teenager. In 2004, she embarked on an international odyssey to investigate and write about major sites of violence and suffering. Traumascapes is a powerful meditation on the places she visited: Bali, Berlin, Manhattan, Moscow, Port Arthur, Sarajevo, and the field in Pennsylvania where the fourth plane involved in the attacks of September 11 2001 crashed.
In a time when terror and tragedy flourish these locations exhibit a compelling power, drawing pilgrims and tourists from around the world who want to understand the meaning of the traumatic events that unfolded there. In traumascapes, life goes on but the past is still unfinished business.
About the Author
Maria Tumarkin was born in 1974 in the former Soviet Union in a Russian Jewish family, which settled in Kharkiv - the second largest city in Ukraine. From the age of seven, she attended a literary club at the Palace of Pioneers, acquiring a habit of judging people solely by the number of books they had read. In 1989, at the time of Gorbachev's reforms, a large number of Soviet Jews were able to leave their country, and Maria's family immigrated to Australia.
In 1992, less than two years after arriving in Australia, Maria bluffed her way into a Melbourne Journalism course. She was 17, could barely speak English and did not even finish Year 11. She said she was 23, avoided all questions about schooling, looked determined and, miraculously, got in. A few years later she enrolled at the University of Melbourne to study history and cultural studies and ended up completing an interdisciplinary Ph.D thesis on sites of trauma. Her work on trauma and lived geography has since been published in major academic and popular journals and presented on radio and at international conferences.
For the past year, she has travelled the world doing research for her book on the fate and power of traumascapes.