Historical Trauma and Transformation
Welcome to Stellenbosch University


Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation at Stellenbosch University is pleased to offer scholarships for doctoral research in any discipline in the Humanities. The scholarships are available for three years from 2017 to 2019/2020 (depending on the date of registration in 2017) and valued at R180, 000.00 per annum. Applications are invited from suitably qualified students with a Masters' degree in the following main areas:


  1. The Study of Empathy and its Relationship to Transformation, which may include:
    • Dialogue processes and how they may lead to perspective taking and to empathy towards others.
    • Exploring the conditions that create racial enmity and the conditions that may lead to transformation in a range of contexts. The study may be located in the workplace or university context.
    • The role of empathy in leadership. This may include:
      1. a phenomenological investigation of the expression of empathy through the phenomenon of Ubuntu
      2. the role of empathy in transformational leadership
  2. Historical Trauma and its repercussions, which may include:
    • Qualitative investigation of evidence (or absence) of transgenerational trauma among the younger generation.
      1. Investigating the impact across the generations of family history of trauma related to political violence;
      2. History of political violence may include Rwandan genocide, slavery, xenophobia, apartheid-era violence, violence related to the British concentration camps, and "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland.
    • Phenomenological exploration of the experience of "assimilation" among black students in previously white institutions, and the impact of this experience on the psyche.
    • Narratives of "everyday" violations of the sense of self and impact on identity. This area of research may include research on the impact of experiences such as living with deprivation, intergenerational poverty, or racial micro-aggressions.


Applicants must:

  1. be available to register and to register by the end of June 2017;
  2. be willing to study full time;
  3. be competent in qualitative data analysis (essential for research involving phenomenological, narrative, or other qualitative methods); quantitative data analysis (essential for students interested in using quantitative method designs), OR be open to designing a mixed method study;
  4. hold a Masters' degree with a grade of 70% and above (68% will be considered);
  5. be able to work in an interdisciplinary team environment;


Successful applicants will be registered in the Faculty of Humanities at Stellenbosch University and will be expected to submit their final thesis proposal within six months of registration.   


Application Procedure:

Apply by email to Jolene Petersen (jrp1@sun.ac.za), providing the following documentation:

  1. Cover letter describing the applicant's research interests and indicating how these align with the theme(s) of the scholarship outlined above;
  2. CV with full details of prior research;
  3. Copies of all academic transcripts.
  4. Email Enquiries for more information about the scholarships may be sent to Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela at PumlaGM@sun.ac.za with the following Subject Title written in capital letters: SCHOLARSHIP ENQUIRY.


Closing Date:

13 January 2017