UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Witnessing the socially dead : testimony, violence, and Sarah van Voorthuysen, Hannah


This paper critiques the assumption, common in academic studies on survivor testimony, that trauma or pain renders the witness speechless. Through an in-depth analysis of Sarah, an extremely marginalised, socially dead, survivor-witness of multiple violences during times of war and peace in northern Uganda, I consider how such witnesses communicate in embodied ways to outline the nature of violences that they experience. Given that witnessing is a relational practice, I then explore the creative, empathetic, and imaginative ways that researchers or listeners should respond to such testimonies in order to do justice to the testimony told.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International