Award Date

5-1-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Journalism and Media Studies

First Committee Member

Julian Kilker

Second Committee Member

Benjamin Burroughs

Third Committee Member

Gregory Miller

Fourth Committee Member

Andrew Kirk

Number of Pages

63

Abstract

The flashback is a concept born in cinema, adopted by science and embraced by popular culture as a metaphor for memory—everyday recollections, psychedelic illusions, and traumatic intrusions—that informs and influences our relationship to the past. This creative thesis traces the one-hundred-year timeline of the concept of flashbacks, focusing on its expansion into the field of psychology. How did a film term end up in the pages of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the primary tool used by psychologists to diagnose mental illness, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Flashbacks gained psychological complexity in Hollywood during the World War II era, were first linked to the brain by through

an association with the drug LSD, and have become the hallmark symptom of PTSD. The film produced for this project, entitled, “Trauma and its Shadow: The History of Flashbacks,” combines original research, video interviews, archival media, and other elements to explore significant issues including drug policy, trauma therapy, and a range of issues relating to the American media.

Disciplines

Broadcast and Video Studies | Film and Media Studies | Journalism Studies | Psychology

Language

English

Available for download on Friday, May 15, 2026


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