EN 6546 3.0: Post-Apartheid Drama: Theatricalizing the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission)
Professor: Marcia Blumberg
Office: 344 Stong College
Office phone: (416) 736-2100 x 33847
This course examines the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a foundational body for the new democratic South Africa. The hearings, which ran from 1996 – 1998, constituted a national drama that was performed in towns and villages throughout the country. From 1996 plays and other art forms responded to and challenged the TRC; they eschewed simplistic scenarios such as those that >forgive and forget= and instead examined the vehicle and its limitations, undoubted failures, imperfect successes and the ramifications of this process in South African life and through specific theatrical arts. We will use Catherine Cole’s noteworthy book, Performing South Africa’s Truth Commission: Stages of Transition (2010) as a core text and heed her call to undertake “scholarship that honors the complexity of the interpretive process; scholarship that looks for truths embedded in testimony that run counter to the commission’s mandate; interpretations that shelve the interminable assessment of the commission’s virtues or faults; books and articles that actually quote testimony.” Through a range of plays and other media, which have been created over the past fifteen years that relate to the TRC, we will interrogate such significant issues as truth and reconciliation, testimony and witnessing, the politics of memory, violence and trauma, the performance of law and testimony, and many unspeakable situations that have been voiced during the TRC hearings and within the theatrical and artistic texts. How has South Africa fared during its vast stages of transition?
Seminar Presentation (15) minutes. 12%
Written version of seminar presentation within 2 weeks. 10%
Best 4 response papers, no more than three pages each. 28%
At least one of the above should include a response to one broadcast of the TRC Special Report
A final essay – 7-10 pages 40%
Informed and regular participation 10%
Texts–The following are all required reading/ viewing. Texts marked * will be in the Course Kit
Cole, Catherine. Performing South Africa’s Truth Commission: Stages of Transition. Bloomington: Indiana UP 2010
Farber, Yael. He Left Quietly (created with Duma Khumalo) 2002 *
---- Molora (Oberon Books) 2008
Foot, Lara. Solomon and Marion (Oberon Books) 2011
Herzberg, Paul. The Dead Wait (Oberon Books) 2002
Higginson, Craig. Dream of the Dog (Oberon Books) 2011
Laufer, Erez and Miri. One Day After Peace (Documentary) 2012
Kani, John. Nothing but the Truth (Witwatersrand UP) 2002
Magona, Sindiwe. Mother to Mother 2012*
Miller, Philip. REwind: A Cantata for Voice, Tape and Testimony 2006
Reid, Frances. A Long Night’s Journey Into Day. (Documentary) 2000
Rodsell, Bobby. The Story I am About to Tell 1996*
Taylor, Jane. Ubu and the Truth Commission 1996*
I have access to a substantial collection of DVDs and videos from South Africa - whether interviews, excerpts of plays or full length productions. I will include selections from these whenever possible.
Historical and Cultural Texts on Reserve
Deegan, Heather. Politics South Africa. (Pearson Education Ltd) 2011 (Second Edition)
Jolly, Rosemary. Cultured Violence. (Liverpool UP) 2010
Shepherd, Nick & Steven Robins. New South African Keywords. (Jicana Press) 2008
Course Kit includes plays marked * and some articles/chapters by:
Shoshanna Felman & Dori Laub, Brandon Hamber, Priscilla Hayner, Antjie Krog, Mahmood Mamdani, Stephanie Marlin-Curiel, Sarah Nuttall & Carli Coetzee, Deborah Posel & Graeme Simpson, Mark Sanders, Diana Taylor, Charles Villa-Vicencio.
Also selected articles from South African Theatre Journal, and other South African Journals that are not part of the York University Library Holdings.