The Future of Rwanda’s Past: Transitional Justice, Archival Practice, and the Remaking of History After Genocide
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CitationMosely, Erin. 2016. The Future of Rwanda’s Past: Transitional Justice, Archival Practice, and the Remaking of History After Genocide. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
Abstract“The Future of Rwanda’s Past” examines the politics of historical revisionism in contemporary Rwanda, arguing that the global fight against genocide has had a profound impact on historical research and production, and on the various public meanings of Rwandan history today. Across four interconnected sites of analysis – the state, the law, the academy, and the archive – I trace the growing influence of transitional justice in the rewriting of Rwanda’s past, demonstrating the key ways in which the language of “Never Again” has come to operate as a dominant ideological and epistemological framework. In so doing, I reveal the tensions, contradictions, and erasures that are produced when human rights imperatives and historical production become increasingly aligned against a backdrop of post-genocide nation-building.
In particular, I focus on a distinct moment in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when a global turn toward atrocity archiving coincided with a resurgence of nationalism in Rwanda, a moment in which new historical narratives were constructed to legitimize the post-genocide state. However, these more recent phenomena unfolded against a longstanding historiographical crisis in Rwanda, marked by multiple phases of archival and pedagogical distortion. I argue that we must take seriously this longue durée historical context if we are to understand fully the ways in which power, ideology, and nationalism function in the rewriting of Rwandan history today. I also suggest that it is through the daily practices and struggles of intermediaries – local historians, university students, archivists, government bureaucrats, and international consultants and NGO workers – that we are best equipped to see the workings of the post-genocide Rwandan state, in conjunction with global influences.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33840737
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