African Studies: Series Number 112 Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda

African Studies: Series Number 112 Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda

By: Timothy Longman (author)Paperback

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Although Rwanda is among the most Christian countries in Africa, in the 1994 genocide, church buildings became the primary killing grounds. To explain why so many Christians participated in the violence, this book looks at the history of Christian engagement in Rwanda and then turns to a rich body of original national- and local-level research to argue that Rwanda's churches have consistently allied themselves with the state and played ethnic politics. Comparing two local Presbyterian parishes in Kibuye before the genocide demonstrates that progressive forces were seeking to democratize the churches. Just as Hutu politicians used the genocide of Tutsi to assert political power and crush democratic reform, church leaders supported the genocide to secure their own power. The fact that Christianity inspired some Rwandans to oppose the genocide demonstrates that opposition by the churches was possible and might have hindered the violence.

About Author

Timothy Longman is director of the African Studies Center at Boston University, where he also serves as associate professor of political science. From 1996 to 2009, he served as associate professor of political science and Africana studies at Vassar College, New York. He has also taught at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; the National University of Rwanda, Butare; and Drake University, Iowa. He has served as a consultant in Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo for USAID and the State Department, the International Center for Transitional Justice and Human Rights Watch, for whom he served as director of the Rwanda field office 1995-6. From 2001 to 2005, he served as a Research Fellow for the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, directing research on social reconstruction in post-genocide Rwanda. His articles have appeared in the African Studies Review, the Journal of Religion in Africa, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Comparative Education Review, the Journal of Genocide Research and America, and he is currently completing a book manuscript titled Memory, Justice, and Power in Post-Genocide Rwanda.


Introduction: 1. 'People came to mass each day to pray, then they went out to kill': Christian churches, civil society, and genocide; Part I. 'River of Blood': 2. 'Render unto Caesar and Musinga ...': Christianity and the colonial state; 3. Churches and the politics of ethnicity; 4. 'Working hand in hand': Christian churches and the postcolonial state (1962-90); 5. 'Giants with feet of clay': the churches and democratization (1990-2); 6. 'It is the end of the world': Christian churches and genocide (1993-4); Part II. 'God Has Hidden His Face': 7. Kirinda: local churches and the construction of hegemony; 8. Biguhu: local churches, empowerment of the poor and challenges to hegemony; 9. 'Commanded by the devil': Christian involvement in the genocide in Kirinda and Biguhu; Conclusion: 10. Churches and accounting for genocide.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780521269537
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 372
  • ID: 9780521269537
  • weight: 540
  • ISBN10: 0521269539

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