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The Empire of Pain: Debates, problems and does trauma have a colour?


Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 12:00 to 14:00
Sean Field, University of Cape Town

This workshop initially outlines the historiography of memory and trauma, and the conceptual challenges that the referential problem and post-traumatic legacies pose for oral history interpretation. We then consider the post-colonial critique of “trauma theory” being founded on Eurocentric notions of subjectivity and techniques of selfhood. We also discuss examples of interpreting memories of violence, from oral history dialogues constructed through cultural, racial, gender and other intersubjectivities.


Dr. Sean Field is Associate Professor of History at the University of Cape Town and served as Director of the Centre for Popular Memory (CPM) from 2001 to 2012. He is the author of several prize-winning books including, Oral History, Community and Displacement: Imagining Memories in Post-Apartheid South Africa (2012), and Lost Communities, Living Memories: Remembering Forced Removals in Cape Town (2001). He is joining us at COHDS for a three week residency.

1400 de Maisonneuve Blvd W., Library Building, 10th Floor, Room LB-1042

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