Rwanda Before the Genocide: Catholic Politics and Ethnic Discourse in the Late Colonial Era

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9780199982271: Rwanda Before the Genocide: Catholic Politics and Ethnic Discourse in the Late Colonial Era

Winner of the Bethwell A. Ogot Book Prize of the African Studies Association

Between 1920 and 1994, the Catholic Church was Rwanda's most dominant social and religious institution. In recent years, the church has been critiqued for its perceived complicity in the ethnic discourse and political corruption that culminated with the 1994 genocide. In analyzing the contested legacy of Catholicism in Rwanda, Rwanda Before the Genocide focuses on a critical decade, from 1952 to 1962, when Hutu and Tutsi identities became politicized, essentialized, and associated with political violence.

This study--the first English-language church history on Rwanda in over 30 years--examines the reactions of Catholic leaders such as the Swiss White Father André Perraudin and Aloys Bigirumwami, Rwanda's first indigenous bishop. It evaluates Catholic leaders' controversial responses to ethnic violence during the revolutionary changes of 1959-62 and after Rwanda's ethnic massacres in 1963-64, 1973, and the early 1990s. In seeking to provide deeper insight into the many-threaded roots of the Rwandan genocide, Rwanda Before the Genocide offers constructive lessons for Christian ecclesiology and social ethics in Africa and beyond.

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About the Author:


J.J. Carney is Assistant Professor of Theology at Creighton University. His research and teaching interests engage the theological and historical dimensions of the Catholic experience in modern Africa. He has published articles in African Ecclesial Review, Modern Theology, Journal of Religion in Africa, and Studies in World Christianity.

Review:


"Rwanda Before the Genocide: Catholic Politics and Ethnic Discourse in the Late Colonial Era, is a rare historical work that provides important context for understanding more recent events...[Carney] demonstrates a deep knowledge of the Catholic Church that many scholars writing on Rwanda lack, yet he manages to write in a manner accessible to a general audience...Rwanda Before the Genocide is an important contribution to Rwandan historical studies and particularly to Rwandan Church history. The book is thoroughly researched and well written."--African Studies Review


"This is an outstanding piece of church history writing and another example of the importance of theological literacy in its writing. It should act as a siren call for anthropologists and sociologists to participate more fully in this discipline."--Ian Linden, Social Sciences and Missions


"A signal contribution...Carney had generous access to the White Fathers' archives in Rome and Rwanda and has used them masterfully...Along with an important rereading of this history, Carney also provides thoughtful commentary on church-state relations in the postcolonial era in Africa, with lessons for places well beyond."--Theological Studies


"An in-depth historical narrative...This book makes a significant contribution to understanding Rwandan history, Catholic missionary work in Africa, and the formation of ethnic identity during and after colonization."--African Studies Quarterly


"Carney's scholarship is balanced, very thorough, and updated. Essential for Rwanda and genocide scholars."--CHOICE


"This book is indispensable for understanding the relationship between church, state, and ethnic discourse in twentieth-century Rwanda." --International Bulletin of Missionary Research


"Reading Carney's Rwanda Before the Genocide has been both delightful and extremely rewarding. Rarely does one come across such a thorough historical survey, pursued through an engaging theological lens. The historical survey is just excellent, helping to illumine the complex terrain of a crucial time in Rwanda's late colonial history. This is a very much needed study in the face of so many shallow accounts of the history of the Catholic Church in Rwanda."-Emmanuel M. Katongole, author of Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda


"This book is a detailed examination of the historical background to the Rwanda genocide. It is an admirable combination of scrupulous scholarship, balanced judgment, and an unflinching search for truth. Although the tragedy of Rwanda sadly fits into the catalogue of twentieth-century killings, its special character can now be understood when placed in the searching light of policies and actions that preceded it. Among other things, this study shows the failure of the Church to deploy its considerable influence and assets to forestall the coming crisis, largely because of the inability to appreciate the reality of the Church's place in society. It is a depressingly familiar story; this book should make its repetition inexcusable."-Lamin Sanneh, Historian of religion, Yale University


"I greatly appreciate Carney's research on the recent history of the Catholic Church in Rwanda. It is not easy to write about controversial historical periods. Carney has succeeded in overcoming the dangers of the task by basing his analysis on recent, unused, and primary sources. The result is a well-documented book with new insights on a crisis whose impacts are still real."-Paul Rutayisire, Director, Center for Conflict Management, National University of Rwanda


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Between 1920 and 1994, the Catholic Church was Rwanda s most dominant social and religious institution. In recent years, the church has been critiqued for its perceived complicity in the ethnic discourse and political corruption that culminated with the 1994 genocide. In analyzing the contested legacy of Catholicism in Rwanda, Rwanda Before the Genocide focuses on a critical decade, from 1952 to 1962, when Hutu and Tutsi identities became politicized, essentialized, and associated with political violence. This study-the first English-language church history on Rwanda in over 30 years-examines the reactions of Catholic leaders such as the Swiss White Father Andre Perraudin and Aloys Bigirumwami, Rwanda s first indigenous bishop. It evaluates Catholic leaders controversial responses to ethnic violence during the revolutionary changes of 1959-62 and after Rwanda s ethnic massacres in 1963-64, 1973, and the early 1990s. In seeking to provide deeper insight into the many-threaded roots of the Rwandan genocide, Rwanda Before the Genocide offers constructive lessons for Christian ecclesiology and social ethics in Africa and beyond. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780199982271

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