Historical Trauma and Transformation
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Rethinking Trauma Theory through Dialogue

​​​​​The imagination here is to curate a series of conversations between leading scholars in the field of trauma and young and older scholars who are working on developing a new understanding of historical trauma and its transgenerational repercussions in South Africa and the broader African continent. Our aim in holding such a series of scholarly conversations is to conduct an in-depth and on-going examination of historical trauma and its intergenerational repercussions, and to use this platform as an alternative intellectual frontier of knowledge production. We will facilitate scholarly dialogues with a focus especially on the participation of young scholars exploring fresh questions in this field of studies in historical trauma. Most of these dialogues will be by invitation only to allow for extended rigorous discussions; however, some of these conversations will be open to the public. 


Violent Histories, Trauma and Memory

This is part of our ongoing conversations on rethinking trauma; the following video clips are from the webinar "Violent Histories, Trauma and Memory: Prof Michael Rothberg (University of California) in conversation with Dr. Sakiru Adebayo (University of British Columbia) and Dr. Adam Levin (University of South Africa).

Edits Rothberg Violent Histories_1600x800px.jpg

Dr. Sakiru Adebayo engages with the works of Professor Michael Rothberg focusing on his three books: Traumatic Realism (2000), Multidirectional Memory (2009) and The Implicated Subject (2019). Professor Rothberg's post-structuralist thoughts and calls to move from a multidisciplinary focus on trauma to an interdisciplinary one is a source of interest for Dr. Adebayo. 

Dr . Sakiru Adebayo's Remarks 



Toward a Full-Spectrum Thinking of Trauma by Sakiru Adebayo.pdf

Dr. Adam Levin engages with Professor Michael Rothberg's work, touching on issues of empathy and solidarity in communities to drive social change.  He speaks of complex implication in relation to Jewish affinity with victimhood while also implicated in violence when viewed through the lens of apartheid memory. Dr. Levin is fascinated by Professor Rothberg's call to look for possibilities beyond the text in rethinking methodologies of trauma theory. ​

Dr. Adam Levin​'s Remarks


Professor Michael Rothberg’s Response​



The Future of Trauma: African Scholars Thinking with Cathy Caruth

This was our first dialogue held on 14 October 2020. This Round Table Discussion addressed the future of trauma from different angles. The presentations included discussions on “childhood trauma and psychoanalysis,” “trauma and breathing”, the intersections between “psychological and sociological theories of trauma”, “the art of performing trauma” and how it gives agency to the subaltern in a small black community in a mining town of the Free State Province, and “trauma and the body.”

The link to the recording of the webinar of this event appears below:


The Future of Trauma Video with CC


Manosa Nthunya in conversation with Prof. Stef Craps with Dr. Thando Njovane as respondent

In this conversation held on 14 July 2021, our second in the series, Manosa Nthunya is in conversation with Stef Craps about his body of work on “decolonising" trauma theory. They discussed the limits of trauma theory. The tension between cultural and collective traumas was also discussed with reference to questions of inequality, racism, abuse, colonisation, suffering and Eurocentric biases. ​                  

​                                                                                Manosa Nthunya Stef Craps Video


                                                Collective Healing: Working with Historical Trauma

Shari Eppel's presentation is the last part of our book launch which was first held on 14 April. Post-Conflict Hauntings is a collection of interdisciplinary contributions that reflect on the haunting of post-conflict memory perspective of diverse country case studies from all continents.  In this video Shari shines the light on the Zimbabwean Gukurahundi “genocide". 

                                                                                      Shari Eppel Video