The comments by Michael Greenspan following the article come closest to the heart of the matter. Trauma is indeed emphasized because all of these cultural studies are exercises in victimology first, last and always. The intent of the course - and of the instructor - is not to raise outlier writers to canonical status. The very belief in a "canon" is anathema to the MLA. No, the intent is one of leveling - to reduce the "white" mainstream by praising the "other," as long as the "other" is perceived as a victim. And victimology (trauma) is crucial because it is the method of attacking and undermining the traditions of European-American culture. Time spent on the parochial talents of minor writers is time NOT spent on the universalities and subtleties of the great. The students, of course, are the ones who suffer. They broaden their knowledge of world literature at the price of depth. Leveling, as I said.For the instructors it is a different and more rewarding story. Rather than teaching yet another syllabus on "Bleak House" or "Das Zauberberg" - how boring! - they get to be explorers uncovering hidden treasures that were long ignored by our race-and-class-blinkered culture. As a bonus, the instructors also don't have to be concerned with having their faux insights measured against those giants of the classroom who have published before. How convenient it is to avoid scaling the mountains when you can make use of a strong argument for wandering through the hillocks.I call that the advantage of secure daring.
Very well put. Bravo!