• Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies
    Inaugural Presentation of Vice-Chancellor's Lecture Series: "Sites of Trauma, Sites of Conscience"

    Attentive Audience - "An opportunity for dialogue with public, including young thinkers with intruguing ideas and insight on issues related to historical trauma and memory"

  • Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies
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    Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela presenting a lecture with Emeritus Professor Irvin Staub, Peace and Conflict Studies Research Department, Uppsala University.
  • Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies
    Vice-Chancellor's Lecture Series: "Narrating Rape during the South African War" by Emeritus Prof Ant
    Profs Lucius Botes, Helene Strauss, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Antjie Krog and Dr Buhle Zuma at Prof Krog's Lecture.
  • Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies
    Postgraduate students 2015
    Doctoral and Master's students during a postgraduate students' research workshop with Prof Engela Pretorius as guest of honour.
  • Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies
    Empathic responses to video clips from the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission

    Melike Fourie, Post-doctoral Fellow leading brain imaging in our multidisciplinary research on empathy. 

  • Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies
    "Forgiveness, Law and Justice, Third Annual Reconciliation Lecture 2014"

    "What is Forgiveness? What is it? Why consider it? Should it be encouraged? By law, by leaders?” - Professor Martha Minow

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Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies: Gender Reconciliation Research

Exploring the Relational Transformation of Identities between Young Men and Women in the Context of Gender Reconciliation Workshops


Principal Investigator: Samantha van Schalkwyk
Research Partner: Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela (Research Chair, Historical and Transformation, Stellenbosch University)
Research Collaborators:  Cynthia Brix (Co-Director, Gender Reconciliation International), William Keepin (Co-Director, Gender Reconciliation International)
Researcher and PhD Candidate: Arnold Motsau

Patriarchal scripts of masculinity and femininity have a negative impact on the way men and women construct their sense of selfhood. There is general consensus among scholars in the field of gender studies that these patriarchal scripts of female and male identity are intrinsically linked to issues of power and subordination, and to the problem of violence against women and violence against LGBTI people. Finding strategies that can open up space for the establishment of alternative gender scripts is crucial in order to disrupt the destructive consequences of patriarchy in educational and social contexts. Anecdotal evidence suggests that 'Gender Reconciliation' workshops, which have been facilitated globally by the founders of the non-profit organisation, Gender Reconciliation International, provide an important context in which traditional gender norms can be transcended. This research project has been established to examine the impact of these workshops on gender relationships.

The study will use Collective Biography Methodology to explore the dynamics of gender transformation over time in a series of Gender Reconciliation workshops held with male and female students from the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses of the University of the Free State. The practical workshop sessions comprise group work, storytelling, and role plays that enable the deconstruction of gendered conditioning and challenge cultural assumptions about 'appropriate' masculinity and femininity.

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