On Disorientation (I) – The History and Pathology of a Concept

My PhD thesis analyses the experience of the city of Los Angeles as represented in literature and film across the 20th century, focusing particularly on states of disorientationI will address the question ‘Why Los Angeles?’ in a subsequent post, and will also expand on how disorientation is actually utilised in my analysis; for now, I want to unpack the term a little by sketching a brief conceptual history. What I’m particularly concerned with doing is demonstrating that disorientation is more than merely a synonym for ‘lost’, and how its meaning came to implicate not just the spatial/geographical, but also disruptions to time and identity.

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