Longman Interviewed on “Memory and Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda“
In an appearance on the Realms of Memory podcast, Timothy Longman, Professor of International Relations and Political Science and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies and Director of the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs (CURA), talks about his book Memory and Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda.
In discussing his experience investigating the causes of the Rwandan genocide and the post-genocide government’s aim to shape the collective memory of the Rwandan population, which motivated his book, Longman discussed how the memory of the genocide became heavily politicized and using it became a tenant of the post-genocide government. He also discussed how racial identity in Rwanda served as a motivator for the genocide and how the post-genocide government came to use this entrenched divide to justify its actions.
In his book, Longman argues that the memory of the genocide has been instrumentalized by the long-ruling Rwandan Patriot Front (RPF). By casting itself as the selfless liberator of the Tutsi minority, the RPF has used genocide to mask its own crimes, such as abuses of power and political ambitions. Showcasing the horrors of the genocide at commemorative sites helps the RPF to justify its own brand of authoritarian rule. Suspicious and distrustful of both the Hutu majority and Tutsi minority, the RPF’s top-down approach to governance has failed to move the country beyond its deeply rooted ethnic divisions. Learn more about Memory and Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda on the Cambridge University Press website.
The full podcast can be listened to below.
Professor Timothy Longman‘s current research focuses on state-society relations in Africa, looking particularly at human rights, transitional justice, democratization, civil society, the politics of race and ethnicity, religion and politics, and women and politics. He has published two books based on his research in Rwanda: Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda (Cambridge University Press 2011), and Memory and Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda (Cambridge University Press 2017). Read more about Professor Longman on his faculty profile.