Speaking of the dead : reconstructing identity in post-genocide Rwanda / by Stephanie L. McKinney.
This dissertation examines the role of the Rwandan genocide in post-genocide public culture through memorialization and tourism. Genocide and atrocity memorialization bring to light the numerous conflicts around the interpretations of controversial events, and their meanings in the larger culture. In this forum, identities such as victim, perpetrator, collaborator and bystander are publicly ascribed and debated; these debates resonate differently on the local, national, and international levels. In Rwanda, the commemoration process reveals how the public emphasis on Tutsi victimhood negates other narratives of trauma associated with the events of 1994, inhibiting national unity. The genocide memorials themselves serve a variety of purposes, primarily functioning as mass graves, while also serving in some cases as testimonies to atrocity through the display of human remains. These memorials, and other genocide sites, cement the role of the genocide in the national identity through their high visibility in Rwandan tourism, as demonstrated in the Kigali City tour. While Rwandan tourism is based on the rare mountain gorillas, the promotion of this tourism emphasizes the primitivism that Rwanda must actively combat to elevate the meaning of the genocide beyond Western notions of tribalism. In serving the global market, Rwanda is re-inscribing its colonial past in contemporary Rwanda. Like all atrocities, the Rwandan genocide has left deeply problematic questions about agency and action. Their negotiation of public discourse is an essential part of processing the genocide, and the complex and difficult path towards reinventing a national identity.
Record last modified: 2018-05-18 16:20:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/bib209211