CONN 334

Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa and Beyond

This course uses South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (established in 1995) as a starting point for considering questions around historical trauma, transitional justice and the production of knowledge. Students analyze the TRC in terms of South African history and identity, examining ways in which it both replicated and sought to remake relationships of power within that country, and also explore points of comparison with TRCs in other countries. As a Connections core course, the course introduces students to a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Students consider the TRC as a self-conscious (re)writing of history, as a political strategy for nation-building, as a psychological treatment for trauma, as the creation of a body of narratives, and as a religious/spiritual exercise. As a KNOW course, the course requires students to think about how issues of identity and positionality impacted the engagement of various South Africans with the TRC and to reflect on how their own positionality shapes their understanding of truth and reconciliation, both in South Africa and elsewhere, including the United States.