Call for papers: Revisiting the ‚Heart of Darkness‘

International Volume
REVISITING THE ‚HEART OF DARKNESS ‚.
Colonialism, Ethnicity and Mass Violence in the African Great Lakes Region 15 years after the Rwandan Genocide
ed. by Dominik J. Schaller and Juergen Zimmerer


International Volume
REVISITING THE ‚HEART OF DARKNESS ‚.
Colonialism, Ethnicity and Mass Violence in the African Great Lakes Region 15 years after the Rwandan Genocide
ed. by Dominik J. Schaller and Juergen Zimmerer

Between April and June 1994, Hutu extremists killed up to 800,000 Rwandan Tutsi in what became known as the Rwandan Genocide. The world simply looked on as those events destabilized the entire region. Almost 15 years later, it is time to take stock and to put the events into a global perspective. This seems particularly necessary because in some quarters a perception of the genocide prevails which borders on being racist. Many Western observers described the killings at the time as an ‚archetypical war of martial African tribes‘, thus stressing the inevitability and the endemic character of violence in Africa. Nothing, however, could be more wrong: the Rwandan genocide was rather the climax of developments rooted in the time of first German and then Belgian colonial rule. The consequences of that also made postcolonial nation-building in Rwanda difficult as it became overshadowed by regular outbreaks of violence and the systematic discrimination and exclusion of Rwanda\’s Tutsi minority. It was not until the overthrow of the Hutu government by the Ugandan based Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) in July 1994 that an end was put to the rule of Hutu elites in Rwanda.
With that, however, violence in the region did not stop, as this also changed the geopolitical parameters in the African Great Lakes Region: the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Hutus and the RPF\’s invasion and plunder of Eastern Congo led both to the collapse of the Mobutu regime and to what former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called ‚Africa\’s First World War‘.
So far, most studies of the Rwandan genocide or the Congo Wars have failed to examine these events in historical depth – under inclusion of a wider theoretical literature on mass violence – and in their broader regional contexts (i.e. including the political and socio-economic situations in Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania as well as the strategic interests of Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia etc.).
In order to fill this gap the editors welcome original and innovative papers involving the transnational and transregional approaches which are crucial for an understanding of the local dynamics that have fed processes of cumulative radicalizations in the whole region. Furthermore, the editors are looking for articles analyzing the extent to which European colonial officials, scientists, explorers, missionaries and – in the Cold War period – Western development workers have contributed to the ethnicizing and radicalization of African societies. Proposals (max. 2 pages + a short biographical sketch) should be submitted no later than 20 July 2008 to both Dominik J. Schaller (dominik.schaller@uni-heidelberg.de) and Jürgen Zimmerer (j.zimmerer@sheffield.ac.uk). The articles, which should be a maximum of 8500 words including documentation, will be due on January 31, 2009.
There will be the opportunity for some contributors to present their papers at the 1st Global Conference on Genocide, ‚Genocide: The Future of Prevention‘, organized by the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INoGS) in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Genocide and Mass Violence/University of Sheffield (January 9th-12th 2009).
The publication of this volume marks the launch of the Research Cluster ‚Gold, Gems and Genocide. Mass Violence in Central and Southern Africa from Colonialism to the Present‘ at the Centre for the Study of Genocide and Mass Violence/University of Sheffield (a joint project with the Department of History /University of Heidelberg).