2016 was a year of writing for me. Most of my intellectual time and energy went to finishing up a book project I’ve been working on for almost five years. Yale University Press will publish Rwanda, 1959-2016 no later than spring 2018.
The grind of writing meant that I read a lot of court cases and judicial opinions, particularly from the International Criminal Court for Rwanda and the Joint Mechanism that appeared after it closed in 2015. I also read raw statistical data and the accompanying analysis from the World Bank, IMF and the Rwandan government. Human rights reports, Rwandan government documents, political blogs and the memoirs of survivors of the 1994 genocide round out my technical reading for the year.
I also published in 2016 the ‘Genocide in Rwanda’ bibliographic entry for the Oxford Bibliography in African Studies. I read and reread many wonderful (and not so wonderful) books and articles for this project.
I continue to read in the fields of Rwanda studies, security studies and human rights. The yoke of empirical evidence on the folly of the post-genocide policies of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front is far heavier thanks to the following:
Investing in Authoritarian Rule Punishment and Patronage in Rwanda's Gacaca Courts for Genocide Crimes by Anu Chakravarty (2016)
From War to Genocide: Criminal Politics in Rwanda, 1990-1994 by André Guichaoua (2015)Inside Rwanda’s Gacaca Courts by Bert Ingelaere (2016)
I also read some wonderfully rich PhD theses that I hope will become books:
Sharing scarcity: Land access and social relations in Southeast Rwanda by Margot Leegwater (2015)
From Donorship to Ownership? Evolving Donor-Government Relationships in Rwanda by Haley Swedlund (2011)
Mass justice for mass atrocity: Transitional justice and illiberal peace-building in Rwanda by Lars Waldorf (2013)
I reread books that I think anyone interested in understanding contemporary Rwanda must read:
The Cohesion of Oppression: Clientship and Ethnicity in Rwanda, 1860-1960 by Catharine Newbury (1988)
Antecedents to Modern Rwanda: The Nyiginya Kingdom by Jan Vansina (2005)
I learned a lot from the following titles in the fields of human rights and security studies.
Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention by Séverine Autesserre (2014)
Masculinity and New War: The Gendered Dynamics of Contemporary Armed Conflict by David Duriesmith (2016)
Marching Through Suffering: Loss and Survival in North Korea by Sandra Fahy (2015)
A New Weave of Power People & Politics. The Action Guide for Advocacy and Citizen Participation by Lis VeneKlasen with Valerie Miller (2007)
Researching War: Feminist Methods, Ethics and Politics edited by Annick T.R. Wibben (2016)
I remain interested in storytelling as a genre to understand violence. This means I read memoirs, historical fiction as well as fiction novels. Some really stand out:
I am Evelyn Amony: Reclaiming my Life from the Lord’s Resistance Army by Evelyn Amony, edited by Erin Baines (2015)
Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War by Rohini Mohan (2014)
Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (2014)
Raw Hope, New Life: Decency, Housing and Everyday Life in a Post-Apartheid Community by Fiona Ross (2010)
A Man of Good Hope by Johnny Steinburg (2015)
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead