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Thomas Kelley, ‘Legislating Memory in Rwanda’
February 9, 2017 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Tom Kelley, a professor in the School of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will give a talk on the government of Rwanda’s use of legal and extra-legal means to control memory and history in their country. The regime, to the extent it admits its actions, justifies them as necessary to maintain stability and avoid a repeat of the country’s horrific 1994 genocide. But increasingly, critics claim that Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, along with his ruling coterie, are tailoring memory and history with the aim of legitimizing their increasingly autocratic rule. American legal scholars who focus on Rwanda tend to describe what is happening in terms of First Amendment values, focusing their attention on the Rwandan government’s suppression of political speech. This talk takes a different approach. Borrowing from the disciplines of history, historiography and memory studies, it argues that Rwanda’s government is surpassing mere suppression of speech and engaging in a comprehensive effort to rewrite history and reprogram its citizens’ collective memory.
This talk is part of the Thursday Jama series sponsored by the Carolina Seminar in African Ecology and Social Processes. The Thursday Jama is open to all area faculty and graduate students in any discipline. Light refreshments will be served and the event is free. Please contact Stacey Sewall for more information.