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Dr. Lauren van Vuuren

Dr. Lauren van Vuuren

Freie Universität Berlin

International Summer and Winter University



Dr. Lauren van Vuuren has taught and researched across a range of subjects, from the history and theory of warfare to film representations of the South African and German past, to the history and theory of documentary film. Her PhD examined the role of documentary film in the creation of myths about the Bushmen people of southern Africa, and considered the power of film to generate a historical archive that reflected changing conceptualisations of race, environment and ethnic and national identity in twentieth century southern Africa. Since relocating to Berlin in 2014 she has utilised her training as a filmmaker, film editor, teacher and writer to produce a body of work on the city, with particular focus on its twentieth century history, including a collaborative exhibition, short films, and an upcoming book of short story fragments about the city.

Current FUBiS courses:

Until 2014 Dr. Lauren van Vuuren taught history in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town. A research project on Ulrike Meinhof and left wing terrorism in West Germany in the 1970s led her to the Freie Universität on an Erasmus Mundus Academic Research Fellowship from 2012 – 2013. She has since relocated to Berlin, where she is conducting research on the different conceptualisations of active resistance in East and West Berlin between 1968 and 1989. In 2013 she was awarded the Thomas Pringle Award for Best South African Short Story, and is continuing her literary writing in Berlin.

  • Film and History: A critical examination of how popular historical films influence and reflect historical consciousness.
  • War and Society: An undergraduate survey course on the major conflicts of the first half of the twentieth century, from the Anglo-Boer war to World War One, the Spanish Civil War and World War Two. Special focus on the impact of war on the world beyond the battlefield, and how societies change under the brutality of conflict.
  • History of Documentary Film: A postgraduate course in the history of documentary film, with special focus on how technological changes and theoretical developments affected the scope and influence of documentary film as an influential medium of the twentieth century and beyond.


  • van Vuuren, L., (2013): “The Africa I know”: Film and the Making of ‘Bushmen’ in Laurens van der Post’s Lost World of Kalahari (1956). In Recreating First Contact: Expeditions, Anthropology and Popular Culture, Eds. Bell, J., Brown, A., Gordon, R. (Washington: Smithsonian Scholarly Press), 215-230

  • van Vuuren, L. (2010) ‘And he said they were Ju/hoansi, the people…’: History and Myth in John Marshall’s ‘Bushmen Films,’ 1957-2000. Journal of Southern African Studies. 35(3). 557-574

  • van Vuuren, L, (2010) Review Essay: ‘A Tale of Two Cities: Sex Selling Imagined/ Sex Selling Described’. Kronos: Southern African Histories. 36. 336-339

  • van Vuuren, L. (2010) ‘Duel over a Dear’. New Contrast: South African Literary Journal. 38 (2). 79-88

  • van Vuuren, L. (2007). ‘An Act of Preservation and A Requiem’: The Great Dance: A Hunter’s Story (2000) and Technological Testimony in Post-Apartheid South Africa’. In Marginal Lives and Painful Pasts: South African Cinema after Apartheid. Ed. Both, M. (Cape Town: Genugtig Publishers)

  • van Vuuren, L. (2006) ‘‘Filming ‘Bushmen’ in Laurens van der Post’s Lost World of Kalahari. Kronos: Southern African Histories. 32. 139-161

  • Lauren van Vuuren, ‘The Many Myths of Laurens van der Post: Van der Post and Bushmen in the Television series Lost World of Kalahari (1956)’, South African Historical Journal, 48 (2003), pp. 47-60)