Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Psychic trauma, Alexithymia, Intersubjectivity, Medicine, Psychosomatic, South African literature (English), Schreiner, Olive, 1855-1920-Criticism and interpretation, Coetzee, J. M., 1940- Criticism and interpretation, Intergenerational transmission of trauma, Somatic preoccupation, Psychosomatic, Intersubjective theory, Relational theory


This project explores intergenerational transmission of trauma as evidenced in the body. Specifically, I focus attention on the somatic experiences of two white South African women, one historical/biographical and one fictional/contemporary, to elaborate the legacy of white colonial psychic disavowals in post-colonial South Africa. Using feminist and relational psychodynamic theories, this project addresses the alexithymia of the colonial predicament via an assertion that unwitnessed somatic distress as a result of disavowed trauma in individuals is potentially transmitted to subsequent generations and requires nuanced clinical attention. Additionally, this project argues that interrupting the intergenerational transmission of collective traumas such as colonialism must involve curiosity about somatic manifestations of disavowed violence and aggression.




iii, 119 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 111-119)