Hélène Quiniou

Hélène Quiniou


On Terror and Trauma: The Case for Compensation in the Wake of the November 13, 2015 Attacks in France

Dissertation Review Committee

Research Interests

Research Concentrations

Life and Death; Trauma; Images and Visuality; Intermediality; History of Science and Technologies;           Self and non-Self


Europe; France


Hélène Quiniou’s work investigates the moral economies of trauma, survival, and witnessing through which evidence about PTSD has been produced and circulated in the wake of the 2015 terrorist attacks in France. 

Over the past six years, state insurers have been processing 1245 individuals claims for PTSD compensation from the Guarantee Fund for Victims of Acts of Terrorism (FGTI). Meanwhile, an adjacent diagnostic practice is taking place at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research, where neuropsychologists are conducting biomedical research on PTSD in survivors. As testimonies are being processed by FGTI for financial compensation, on the one hand, and for a science of memory, on the other, a paradox arises: The ideal “survivor” for the neuropsychologist is she who overcomes her PTSD, and yet, for the purposes of trauma compensation, that is, from a forensic point of view, the survivor must remain symptomatic. Survivor testimonies at the 2015 attacks historic trials have only sharpened this paradox.

Her research combines insights from Anthropologies of Moralities, Trauma and Memory, and Science and Technology Studies in order to investigate an ongoing transformation of reparation politics at the intersection of memory science and counterterrorism. 

Fieldwork for this project is supported by the Alliance Doctoral Mobility Program, the National Science Foundation Award No 1921273, and the Social Science Research Council IDRF Program.


Columbia University, MPhil in Anthropology and Certificate in Comparative Literature and Society, 2018
Columbia University, MA in French and Francophone Studies, 2016
Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University, MA in Philosophy, 2002