Assignment Overview: For this assignment, you will be reading a chapter from The Empire of Trauma: An Inquiry Into the Condition of Victimhood (2010), by

Assignment Overview:

For this assignment, you will be reading a chapter from The Empire of Trauma: An Inquiry Into the Condition of Victimhood (2010), by Didier Fassin and Richard Rechtman. This book is one of the most important recent works on the politics of ‘psychological trauma,’ and the history of this concept.

This is a formal essay, and you will be expected to follow conventions of academic writing. This means that, unlike in your discussion board posts, you should avoid using the first person (I, Me, My). Your emphasis should be on presenting a critical and objective analysis of the text, not on your personal reactions and responses to it. Essays will be graded on content, format, and writing quality – read this entire document carefully!

Assignment Instructions:

Read Chapter 1 of: Fassin, D., & Rechtman, R. (2010). The Empire of Trauma: An Inquiry Into the Condition of Victimhood. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. Click HERE to Download
**Optional: you may find it ful to also read chapter 2 – Click HERE to Download

Write an essay in which you respond to the following:
What do Fassin and Rechtman mean when they write that the concept of trauma has a “dual genealogy” – one that is moral, and one that is scientific?
According to the text, what are some of the key aspects of trauma’s “moral genealogy”? In other words, what are the moral questions that have historically been raised by, or associated with, concepts and diagnoses of psychological trauma?
In your answer, be sure to discuss the significance of:
Railway accidents, labor laws, and the insurance industry
The concepts of ‘malingering, ‘sinistrosis,’ and ‘claim neurosis’

BEFORE you begin writing
Read through ALL essay guidelines and grading criteria
Review the “Tips for Academic Writing” Handout

Essay Guidelines/Grading Criteria


Minimum 1200 words (Note: word count does not include name, title, or bibliography. Points will be deducted for needless repetition of article titles or other distracting attempts to lengthen essays with “filler” text.)

Essays should be focused on answering the questions provided through careful analysis of the text.

All references, quotations, and paraphrases must be properly cited, using APA format:
APA Citation Format (*Note proper uses of italics, parentheses, commas, periods, and initials):

Last, F. M., & Last, F. M. (Year Published). Article title. Journal Name, Volume(Issue), pp. Pages.

Examples with actual articles

Jacoby, W. G. (1994). Public attitudes toward government spending. American Journal of Political Science, 38(2), 336-361.

Fearon, J. D., & Laitin, D. D. (2003). Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War. American Political Science Review, 97(01), 75.

Direct (word-for-word) quotations should make up no more than 10% of your essay. You are expected to discuss and analyze the text, not simply to cut-and-paste portions you find relevant or important.
review plagiarism guidelines!

do not use a separate title page. At the top of your essay, put your full name, the name of this course, and the date.
Essays should be:
11 or 12 point font. No bold, cursive, all-caps, italicized, or “decorative” fonts.
Margins no greater than one inch on all sides.
Number your pages.
Writing Counts:

Re-reading and editing your work should not be a last-minute activity, but a central part of the writing process. When you are editing, be on the lookout for:

Incomplete sentences. Make sure your sentences are grammatically correct and flow logically from one to the next.
Run-on sentences – you should have no sentences longer than three lines.
Grammar, Spelling, Capitalization – do not rely on spell check to catch all mistakes. Watch out for tense agreement and verb agreement.
Going ‘off-topic’ – make sure that your writing is relevant to the topic at hand and is directed towards answering the question.
Personal Anecdotes should be avoided; in fact, you should avoid “I” statements altogether – e.g., “I think…” or “In my opinion…”


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