McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
art history, cultural studies, healing, South Africa, violence
While the literature appears to understand trauma and violence as experienced singularly, and as effecting intrapsychic changes or reactions, latterly there has been a recognition that this understanding of the term 'trauma' may not be adequate to describe violence suffered over a prolonged period of time. Further, psychology tends to avert our attention from healing by attending to symptomatology. In South Africa, during the apartheid years (1948-1994), violence was constituted by an extraordinary threat to ongoing being and was informed by a totalitarian prejudice. Creative texts, unlike traumatic texts, show how many artists have worked with South African traumas in an effort to understand, and come to terms with them. This dissertation is a textual reading of 'Drawings for Projection' (1989-1994) by William Kentridge (1955-), an acclaimed South African artist. The approach of this study is broadly hermeneutic, phenomenological, and semiological. The reading suggests that the healing of violence is circular and continuous, and includes our re-membering the past, and our humanity as ethical beings on both personal and collective levels. Additionally, the recognition of the Face, and the breath of the Other, contribute to the reconstitution of our ethics; conversely the counter pull to erasure, reconstitutes violence.
Thompson, V. (2005). Healing violence in South Africa: A textual reading of Kentridge's 'Drawings for Projection' (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1278