Historical Trauma and Transformation
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Reading Group

​​​​​The Historical Trauma Reading Group (HTRG) is an interdisciplinary platform within the South African Research Chair in Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma. Facilitated by Emery Kalema, the reading group is one of the many ways in which the Chair maintains a culture of intellectual and critical engagement among its members. Graduate students, researchers and faculty members meet bi-weekly around a common theme. While the reading group is designed for in-house discussions, a few spaces are available for participation of postgraduate students, researchers, and faculty from outside.

Here is the schedule for semester one, 2021:
February 16: Introduction: What is critique?

- Rita Felski, The Limits of Critique (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2015). Read “Introduction", pp. 1-13.

​- Didier Fassin, “The Endurance of Critique", Anthropological Theory 17, no. 1, 2017, pp. 4-29.


March 23 & 30: On Violence

  • March 23​:

 - James Dodd, Violence and Phenomenology (New York: Routledge, 2009). Read “introduction: Reflections on Violence", pp. 1-19.

 - ​Bruce B. Lawrence and Aisha Karim, On Violence: A Reader (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007).Read “General Introduction: Theorizing  ​

  Violence in ​the  Twenty-first Century", pp. 1-15.​

  • March 30:

 - Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978). Read “Part V: Right 

  of  Death and Power​ over Life", pp. 132-135.

 - Achille Mbembe, Necropolitics, trans. Steven Corcoran (Durham: Duke University Press, 2019). Read “Chapter 3. Necropolitics", pp. 66-92.​


April 13: On Trauma, Hauntings & Temporality

  • April 13:

 - Nancy Rose Hunt, “Beyond Trauma? Notes on a Word, a Frame, and a Diagnostic Category", in Marietjie Oelofsen (ed), Historical Trauma and 

  ​​Memory: Living with the Haunting Power of the Past, pp. 9-16.

 - Dominick LaCapra, History in Transit: Experience, Identity, Critical Theory (Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 2004). Read “Chapter Three. Trauma 

​  Studies: Its Critics and Vicissitudes", pp. 106-143.​



May 4, 11 & 25: Body, Embodiment, Affect

  • May 4:

- Kim Wale, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela and Jeffrey Prager (eds), Post-Conflicts Hauntings: Transforming Memories of Historical Trauma (London:   Palgrave: 2020). Read “Introduction: Post-Conflict Hauntings", pp. 1-25.

- ​Julia Vierback, “Of Other Times: Temporalitity, Memory and Trauma in Post-genocide 

 Rwanda", International Review of Victimology 25, no. 3 (2019), pp. 277-301.



  • May 11:

 -  Jacques Derrida, On Touching—Jean-Luc Nancy, trans. Christine Irizarry (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005), pp. 1-8.

- Douglas Morrey, “Open Wounds: Body and Image in Jean-Luc Nancy and Claire Denis", Film-Philosophy 12, no. 1 (April 2008), pp. 10-31.​


  • May 25:

 - Oyeronke Oyewumi, “Vizualizing the Body: Western Theories and African Subjects", in Oyeronke Oyewumi (ed), African Gender Studies (New York: 

 Palgrave, 2005), 

  pp. 3-21.​

- Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, trans. Charles L. Markmann (London: Pluto, 2008). Read “Chapter 5. The Fact of Blackness", pp. 82-

 108.

 ​

 June 8 & 22: Plasticity and Psychoanalysis

  • June 8:

- Catherine Malabou, The New Wounded: From Neurosis to Brain Damage, trans. Steven Miller (New York: Fordham University, 2012). Read 

 “Preambule", pp. xi-xix; 

  “Introduction", pp. 1-20; and “Chapter 4. Psychoanalytic Objection", pp. 67-73.

- Jennifer O. Gammage, “Trauma and Historical Witnessing: Hope for Malabou's New Wounded", Journal of Speculative Philosophy 30, no. 3 (2016), 

  pp. 404-413.


  • June 22:

- Brandon D. C. Fenton, “The Old Wounded: Destructive Plasticity and Intergenerational Trauma", Humanities 7(2), no. 51 (2018), pp. 1-12.

- A​lexander Hope, “The Future is Plastic: Refiguring Malabou's Plasticity", Journal of Cultural Research 18, no. 4 (2014), pp. 329-349.


For information on the Historical Trauma Reading Group contact the coordinator:
Dr. Emery Kalema [emerykalema@sun.ac.za]