The conference Legacies of Violence and Trauma’s Repair seeks to create space for reflection on historical trauma, its continuing violent legacies, and the quest for reparative possibilities. For this conference, the Call to the “global south” includes all groups in the United States and the Global North with a history of oppression endured over several generations.
“Transgenerational transmission of trauma” has become one of the primary ways in which legacies of violent histories have been understood in the humanities and social sciences, as well as in in civil society. The concept’s foundation is built on the study of real-life narratives and witness testimonies of survivors, as well as on literary narratives about survivors’ experiences and the relationship that descendants have with historical trauma of successive parental generations. In this context, it is argued, the memory of past traumatic experiences is transmitted to the next generation through artefacts, images, stories, etc. Sometimes “symptoms” of the trauma are handed down by the parental generations to the younger generations, and the next. Although there are shifts in this universalising tendency, the approach in the scholarship on historical trauma has been to apply this theoretical framework of inter-/transgenerational transmission of trauma to explain the enduring legacies of violence in “post”-conflict countries without paying attention to the complexity and chaos that has sometimes been witnessed after transitional processes, despite commitment to democratic rule.
This conference is organised and hosted by Stellenbosch University’s
Centre for the Study of Violence and the Reparative Quest (AVReQ).