Remaking Rwanda: State Building and Human Rights after Mass Violence

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In the mid-1990s, civil war and genocide ravaged Rwanda. Since then, the country’s new leadership has undertaken a highly ambitious effort to refashion Rwanda’s politics, economy, and society, and the country’s accomplishments have garnered widespread praise. Remaking Rwanda is the first book to examine Rwanda’s remarkable post-genocide recovery in a comprehensive and critical fashion. By paying close attention to memory politics, human rights, justice, foreign relations, land use, education, and other key social institutions and practices, this volume raises serious concerns about the depth and durability of the country’s reconstruction.
            Edited by Scott Straus and Lars Waldorf, Remaking Rwanda brings together experienced scholars and human rights professionals to offer a nuanced, historically informed picture of post-genocide Rwanda—one that reveals powerful continuities with the nation’s past and raises profound questions about its future.
Best Special Interest Books, selected by the American Association of School Librarians
Best Special Interest Books, selected by the Public Library Reviewers

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Remaking Rwanda is an ambitious book, a rich and varied compilation that demonstrates the full complement of approaches, methods, and concerns informing the study of post-genocide Rwanda.”—Lee Ann Fujii, author of Killing Neighbors: Webs of Violence in Rwanda

“This rich array of careful scholarship provides a valuable, multifaceted view of a country still struggling with the aftereffects of genocide and civil war. It offers an important corrective to the naively rosy picture of Rwanda that too often prevails in the American media.”—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost

“An important contribution to scholarship both on Rwanda and on human rights. Many of the chapters, by leading and emergent Rwanda scholars, directly challenge received wisdom about governance in post-conflict-states, and raise serious questions about the impact of a range of transitional justice measures on longer-term peacebuilding.”—Chandra Lekha Sriram, author of Peace as Governance: Power-Sharing, Armed Groups and Contemporary Peace Negotiations

“This is a mandatory book on current Rwanda—by far the best informed treatment written so far. It is a book that nobody who works in Rwanda—in development, diplomacy, information technology, health, education, etc.—should neglect: it will allow them to understand far more about this fascinating country than they could get from any other source. In short, it is a must-read for all.”—Peter Uvin, H-Africa

“This volume is compulsory reading for anyone interested in comprehending some of the contemporary debates about Rwanda and human rights.”—Georgiana Holmes, The Round Table

“There is still a steady flow of books about the Rwandan genocide of 1994. But Rwanda’s present circumstances have been largely neglected. This edited volume is perhaps the first serious attempt to assess contemporary politics in Rwanda over the course of the last decade.”?—Foreign Affairs

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299282646
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 4/18/2011
  • Series: Critical Human Rights Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 544,306
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Straus is associate professor of political science and international studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and author of The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda. Lars Waldorf, senior lecturer in international human rights law at the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York, is coeditor of Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities after Mass Violence and Disarming the Past: Transitional Justice and Ex-Combatants.

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Table of Contents


List of Abbreviations        

Alison Des Forges: Remembering a Human Rights Hero        

    Kenneth Roth

The Historian as Human Rights Activist        

    David Newbury

Introduction: Seeing Like a Post-Conflict State   

    Scott Straus and Lars Waldorf

Part I. Governance and State Building

1. Limitations to Political Reform: The Undemocratic Nature of Transition in Rwanda    

    Timothy Longman

2. Instrumentalizing Genocide: The RPF's Campaign against "Genocide Ideology"    

    Lars Waldorf

3. The Ruler's Drum and the People's Shout: Accountability and Representation on Rwanda's Hills    

    Bert Ingelaere

4. Building a "Rwanda Fit for Children"    

    Kirrily Pells

5. Beyond "You're Either with Us or against Us": Civil Society and Policymaking in Post-Genocide Rwanda    

    Paul Gready

Part II. International and Regional Contexts

6. Aid Dependence and Policy Independence: Explaining the Rwandan Paradox    

    Eugenia Zorbas

7. Funding Fraud? Donors and Democracy in Rwanda        

    Rachel Hayman

8. Waging (Civil) War Abroad: Rwanda and the DRC        

    Filip Reyntjens

9. Bad Karma: Accountability for Rwandan Crimes in the Congo        

    Jason Stearns and Federico Borello

Part III. Justice

10. Victor's Justice Revisited: Rwandan Patriotic Front Crimes and the Prosecutorial Endgame at the ICTR    

    Victor Peskin

11. The Uneasy Relationship between the ICTR and Gacaca        

    Don Webster

12. The Sovu Trials: The Impact of Genocide Justice on One Community    

    Max Rettig

13. "All Rwandans Are Afraid of Being Arrested One Day": Prisoners Past, Present, and Future    

    Carina Tertsakian

Part IV. Economic Development

14. High Modernism at the Ground Level: The Imidugudu Policy in Rwanda    

    Catharine Newbury

15. Rwanda's Post-Genocide Economic Reconstruction: The Mismatch between Elite Ambitions and Rural Realities        

    An Ansoms

16. The Presidential Land Commission: Undermining Land Law Reform    

    Chris Huggins

Part V. History and Memory

17. The Past Is Elsewhere: The Paradoxes of Proscribing Ethnicity in Post-Genocide Rwanda        

    Nigel Eltringham

18. Topographies of Remembering and Forgetting: The Transformation of Lieux de Mémoire in Rwanda

    Jens Meierhenrich

19. Teaching History in Post-Genocide Rwanda        

    Sarah Warshauer Freedman, Harvey M. Weinstein, Karen Murphy, and Timothy Longman

20. Young Rwandans' Narratives of the Past (and Present)    

    Lyndsay McLean Hilker

21. Reeducation for Reconciliation: Participant Observations on Ingando        

    Susan Thomson

Part VI. Concluding Observations

Justice and Human Rights for All Rwandans        

    Joseph Sebarenzi

The Dancing is Still the Same        

    Aloys Habimana




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