Venue: Stellenbosch University
Dates: 5 – 9 December 2018

Publications from Previous Conferences
Engaging the Other: Breaking Intergenerational Cycles of Repetition” – Conference in December 2012

See Book Information Below

Beyond Reconciliation” – Conference in 2009

Book from Conference, with Foreword by Martha Minow

The United Nations’ declaration of 2009 as the International Year of Reconciliation is testimony to the growing use of historical commissions as instruments of reconciliation in post-conflict societies. Since the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has had a profound impact on international efforts to deal with the aftermath of mass violence and societal conflict, this is an appropriate time for scholars to debate and reflect on the work of the TRC and the wide-ranging scholarship it has inspired across disciplines. With a foreword by Harvard Law Professor Martha Minow, ‘Memory, Narrative, and Forgiveness: Perspectives on the Unfinished Journeys of the Past’ offers readers a front-row seat where a team of scholars draw on both theoretical analysis and case studies from around the world to explore the themes of memory, narrative, forgiveness and apology, and how these themes often interact in either mutually supportive or unsettling ways. The book is a vibrant discussion by scholars in philosophy, psychology, psychoanalytic theory, history, literary theory, and Holocaust studies. The authors explore the complex, interconnected issues of trauma and narrative (testimonial and literary narrative and theatre as narrative), mourning and the potential of forgiveness to heal the enduring effects of mass trauma, and transgenerational trauma-memory as a basis for dialogue and reconciliation in divided societies.


The authors go well beyond the South African TRC and address a wide range of historical events to explore the possibilities and the challenges that lie on the path of reconciliation and forgiveness between victims, perpetrators, and bystanders in societies with a history of violent conflict and unspeakable injustice. The book provides readers with a cohesive, theoretically well-grounded analysis of the impact of traumatic memories in the personal and communal lives of survivors of trauma. It explores how narrative may be creatively applied in processes of healing trauma, and how public testimony can often restore the moral balance of societies ravaged by trauma. The book deepens understanding of the ways in which lessons from the TRC might be developed and both usefully and cautiously applied in other post-conflict situations. (Text from
Breaking Intergenerational Cycles of Repetition: A Global Dialogue on Historical Trauma and Memory Paperback – July 12, 2016
by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela (Editor)
The authors in this volume explore the interconnected issues of intergenerational trauma and traumatic memory in societies with a history of collective violence across the globe. Each chapter’s discussion offers a critical reflection on historical trauma and its repercussions, and how memory can be used as a basis for dialogue and transformation. The perspectives include, among others: the healing journey of three generations of a family of Holocaust survivors and their dialogue with third generation German students over time; traumatic memories of the British concentration camps in South Africa; reparations and reconciliation in the context of the historical trauma of Aboriginal Australians; and the use of the arts as a strategy of dialogue and transformation.


This book brings together different voices on historical trauma, its effects across generations, and the dialogue that is necessary in order to break trauma’s intergenerational impact at the individual, community and societal levels. It offers a unique angle not only in terms of its interdisciplinarity, which includes literary representation of historical trauma narratives, perspectives from oral history and contributions from psychoanalytic scholars. What sets the volume apart from other publications is its contribution to the advancement of scholarship in the field of transgenerational transmission of trauma in a way that moves beyond the interpersonal to the social and historical.

We encourage submissions by scholars and artists who have engaged
with questions that concern the transgenerational repercussions of violent historical pasts,
the memorialisation of these pasts and how this has played out in social life,
and the representation of these issues through the arts in a range of national and transnational contexts.

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