Cullen Goldblatt

Dissertation Fellow
Photo of Cullen Goldblatt

In colonial Senegal, French forces massacred their own West African soldiers in Thiaroye, near Dakar. In apartheid South Africa, the government destroyed Cape Town’s District Six, after declaring the area for white occupation. For decades, Thiaroye and the District have been icons of historical injustice within South Africa and Senegal. Cullen Goldblatt’s (Comparative Literature) dissertation, “Places of Complicity in Narratives of Historical Atrocity: Thiaroye, Dakar and District Six, Cape Town,” examines the narratives in literature, film, and oral accounts concerning these two African places and their associated historical atrocity.  Although scholars have treated these sites separately, Goldblatt contends that, analyzed together, Thiaroye and District Six contribute to the development of a theory of historical complicity in postcolonial Africa. Building on theoretical work on atrocity, complicity, and place, Goldblatt proposes, and uses, a lens of complicity through which to consider how narratives have constructed each site and each episode of historical violence.

Cullen Goldblatt is also the recipient of the Norman Jacobson Memorial Teaching Award.