Sierra Leone: Violence, Trauma, and Recovery

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Ernest Cole, Hope College
Dr. William Pannapacker, Hope College

Document Type


Publication Date



The civil war in Sierra Leone is over, but problems persist and many people still struggle to reclaim their dignity and livelihoods. Through the production of interdisciplinary learning materials and documentary films, we hope to create opportunities for the Hope College community to interact with and learn from the people of Sierra Leone. This project relies on close collaboration with Dr. Ernest Cole, whose passion for his homeland and film footage are the source of our work. Dr. Cole travelled to Sierra Leone in 2009 to obtain film footage from a variety of sources, and returned during the summer of 2010 to obtain additional interviews and film footage from people who have been affected by the civil war. Our documentary work draws from interviews with amputees and rape victims, former combatants, non-profit workers, and government officials to create a comprehensive picture of modern Sierra Leone which allows the viewer to understand a variety of perspectives. This project started in Dr. William Pannapacker’s “Theory and Practice of the Digital Humanities” (ENG 295) class, which focuses on collaboration with faculty on multimedia projects. A goal of this course, and of our project, is to enhance traditional scholarship and take full advantage of new technologies to foster interdisciplinary dialogue. Through our ongoing research and documentary work, we are exploring ways to use technology to make Sierra Leone accessible to Hope students and faculty.

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