Memory and Reconciliation in Rwanda
Critical Human Rights
Scott Straus and Tyrell Haberkorn, Series Editors; Steve J. Stern, Editor Emeritus
“Powerful. Fox’s findings—including that the more mundane, everyday interactions are a more meaningful component of reconciliation—make beautiful and important contributions to the literature on peacebuilding and transitional justice, and have critical implications for international actors and policymakers.”
In the wake of unthinkable atrocities, it is reasonable to ask how any population can move on from the experience of genocide. Simply remembering the past can, in the shadow of mass death, be retraumatizing. So how can such momentous events be memorialized in a way that is productive and even healing for survivors? Genocide memorials tell a story about the past, preserve evidence of the violence that occurred, and provide emotional support to survivors. But the goal of amplifying survivors’ voices can fade amid larger narratives entrenched in political motivations.
In After Genocide, Nicole Fox investigates the ways memorials can shape the experiences of survivors decades after mass violence has ended. She examines how memorializations can both heal and hurt, especially when they fail to represent all genders, ethnicities, and classes of those afflicted. Drawing on extensive interviews with Rwandans, Fox reveals their relationships to these spaces and uncovers those voices silenced by the dominant narrative—arguing that the erasure of such stories is an act of violence itself. The book probes the ongoing question of how to fit survivors in to the dominant narrative of healing and importantly demonstrates how memorials can shape possibilities for growth, national cohesion, reconciliation, and hope for the future.
“After Genocide is a must-read for criminologists, cultural sociologists, and transitional justice scholars. Engaging and innovative, it entails crucial lessons on conditions of memorialization—its intensity, selectivity, and gendered nature—and its effects on peace.”
—Joachim Savelsberg, University of Minnesota
“Essential for anyone interested in collective memory, violence, and social justice. Fox’s careful, in-depth fieldwork results in a rich understanding of how Rwandans remember and narrate their pasts, and her brilliant concept of stratified collective memory powerfully illustrates how some peoples’ memories become privileged while others’ memories are marginalized.”
—Hollie Nyseth Brehm, The Ohio State University
LC: 2020047424 DT
256 pp. 6 x 9
5 b/w illus., 2 maps, 2 tables