Legacies of Violence and Trauma’s Repair in the Global South

Call for conference abstracts

Deadline for Submissions:

September 30, 2022

A Conference hosted by the Centre for the Study of Violence and the Reparative Quest (AVReQ)

December 7-9, 2022 (Cape Town, South Africa)

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.

We call for abstracts for papers, panels, round table discussions and other forms of creative presentations to address questions that cover, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Reconstructing identities in “post”-conflict contexts.
  • Working with communities facing continuing violence in “post”-conflict regions.
  • What, precisely, do we mean by “testimony”? Are the terms “testimony,” “witnessing,” and “bearing witness” the most useful foundational concepts for describing what survivors and their descendants mean when they invoke the oppression and suffering they endured or that was endured by their forebears?
  • How has the vocabulary of trauma shaped our understanding of the continuing legacies of oppression and racism?
  • Is the concept of trauma sufficient and does it help—or hinder—our understanding of the experiences of survivors of violence?
  • How might art, film, and literature address the legacies and lived realities of structural violence, racism, violent histories, etc.?
  • How does the intersection of racism, gender-based violence and rape culture manifest at university campuses?
  • Does the legacy of postcolonial thinkers in the global south (like Frantz Fanon) have a role in energising engagements with the afterlife of violent histories and contemporary cultural and historical understanding?

We look forward to receiving your 300-word abstract by Friday September 30, 2022. Kindly use the link here to upload your abstract and the required supporting information.

Should you have any queries, please contact Roxanne Adams at roxanne.adams@uct.ac.za.