In April 1994, a campaign of mass murder took place in Rwanda killing at least 500.000 members (about 70%) of the Tutsi ethnic group, a minority in Rwanda, in less then three months time. This campaign was among the most horrific the world has ever seen, because of its speed, its success and the participation of ordinary people armed with farm equipment.
The course will attempt to shed light on this dark page of Rwandan, African and world history by studying in-dept the political, economic and social landscape in Rwanda before the genocide. The approach will cross micro-level (farm, household), meso-level (group, village, institution) and macro-level (regime, state) approaches from various disciplines such as development studies, agrarian studies, economics and ethnicity studies. The overarching framework is a political economy approach to development and genocide.
The course is built around the new book Peasants in Power: a political economy of development and genocide in Rwanda, written by Philip Verwimp and published by Springer Verlag in May 2013. Different parts of the course will deal with different chapters of the book. In each class, secondary literature will used to shed more light on the material than the one presented in the book.