Memory, Narrative and Forgiveness: Perspectives on the Unfinished Journeys of the Past (Hardcover)

Memory, Narrative and Forgiveness: Perspectives on the Unfinished Journeys of the Past By Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela (Editor), Chris N. Van Der Merwe (Editor) Cover Image
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The United Nations' declaration of 2009 as the International Year of Reconciliation is testimony to the growing use of historical commissions as instruments of reconciliation in post-conflict societies. Since the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has had a profound impact on international efforts to deal with the aftermath of mass violence and societal conflict, this is an appropriate time for scholars to debate and reflect on the work of the TRC and the wide-ranging scholarship it has inspired across disciplines. With a foreword by Harvard Law Professor Martha Minow, Memory, Narrative, and Forgiveness: Perspectives on the Unfinished Journeys of the Past offers readers a front-row seat where a team of scholars draw on both theoretical analysis and case studies from around the world to explore the themes of memory, narrative, forgiveness and apology, and how these themes often interact in either mutually supportive or unsettling ways. The book is a vibrant discussion by scholars in philosophy, psychology, psychoanalytic theory, history, literary theory, and Holocaust studies. The authors explore the complex, interconnected issues of trauma and narrative (testimonial and literary narrative and theatre as narrative), mourning and the potential of forgiveness to heal the enduring effects of mass trauma, and transgenerational trauma-memory as a basis for dialogue and reconciliation in divided societies. The authors go well beyond the South African TRC and address a wide range of historical events to explore the possibilities and the challenges that lie on the path of reconciliation and forgiveness between victims, perpetrators, and bystanders in societies with a history of violent conflict and unspeakable injustice. The book provides readers with a cohesive, theoretically well-grounded analysis of the impact of traumatic memories in the personal and communal lives of survivors of trauma. It explores how narrative may be creatively applied in processes of healing trauma, and how public testimony can often restore the moral balance of societies ravaged by trauma. The book deepens understanding of the ways in which lessons from the TRC might be developed and both usefully and cautiously applied in other post-conflict situations.

About the Author

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela is the author of the critically acclaimed book, A Human Being Died that Night: A Story of Forgiveness, which won the Alan Paton Award and the Christopher Award. She is co-author of Narrating our Healing: Perspectives on Healing Trauma. She served on the Human Rights Violations Committee of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Currently she is Professor of Psychology at the University of Cape Town. Chris van der Merwe is the author of various books and articles on South African and Dutch Literature. His books include Barriers, Stereotypes and the Changing of Values in Afrikaans Literature and Strangely Familiar: South African Narratives on Town and Countryside, which he edited. He is co-author of Narrating our Healing - Perspectives on Working through Trauma. He received the Book Journalist of the Year award in 1994 for his radio talks on South African Literature. Currently he is Associate Professor of Afrikaans and Dutch Literature at the University of Cape Town.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781443801584
ISBN-10: 1443801585
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Publication Date: February 1st, 2009
Pages: 420
Language: English