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.
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