Book Launch: Genocide Studies in the Great Lakes with Rene Lemarchand

Nancy Rose Hunt's picture
September 15, 2021
Florida, United States
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, World History / Studies, Political History / Studies

B O O K   L A U N C H

to celebrate the publication of the distinguished UF scholar

René Lemarchand’s most recent book,

Remembering Genocides in Central Africa

(Routledge, 2021).


15 September 2021, 10am-12.30 EST (Florida time)

Please join us by Zoom at this address:



René Lemarchand, UF Professor Emeritus of Political Science & African Studies

Michela Wrong, from London: journalist and author of Do Not Disturb

Jeanine Ntihirageza, professor, 1971 Burundian survivor, & collector of genocide stories

Godefroid Muzalia, from Bukavu: Great Lakes conflict studies research coordinator and innovator, from Bukavu

David Newbury, historian of major works on the Great Lakes

Aidan Russell, from Geneva: historian of truth, silence & violence in Burundi and the region

Nancy Rose Hunt, UF historian of medicine and madness in Congo

Leonardo Villalón, moderator: Sahel specialist, Dean, UF International Center, & Professor of Political Science & African Studies


An international Zoom event, sponsored by the University of Florida with Swiss and Congolese partners.


René Lemarchand joined the faculty of Political Science at the University of Florida (UF) in 1962 as a young man, and soon became the University’s first director of its Center for African Studies. Born in France in 1932, he received his PhD from UCLA. He is known for his research on Africa’s Great Lakes region, notably Burundi’s 1972 genocide and the 1994 Rwandan genocide. As professor emeritus, he has continued to write, teach and consult internationally, including regarding Darfur, Abidjan, and Ghana. His 12 books include Political Awakening in the Belgian Congo (California, 1964); Rwanda and Burundi(Praeger, 1970), which received the coveted Herskovits Book Prize; and Remembering Genocides in Central Africa. (Routledge, 2021). With intellectual detours to southern Africa, Libya, and the Sahel, as well as comparative work embracing Cambodia and Bosnia, Lemarchand published about Burundi and Rwanda long before their genocidal turns, on matters of kingship, clientelism, and violence. In his many articles and books – in English and French – he has written about the concept of clientelism; mass violence, witnessing, and memory politics; myth-making and ethnicity; political instability, traditional systems, armies and nation-building; and state collapse, transition anarchies, and ethnic re-stratifications.

Michela Wrong has spent three decades writing about Africa, first as a Reuters correspondent based in Cote d'Ivoire and former Zaire, and then as the Financial Times Africa correspondent, based in Kenya. From journalism, she moved into book-writing. Previous books are: In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz about Mobutu Sese Seko, I Didn’t do it for You, focusing on Eritrea, It’s Our Turn to Eat, an examination of Kenyan corruption, and Borderlines, a novel set in the Horn of Africa. Her latest book, Do Not Disturb, is a scathing assessment of the Rwandan Patriotic Front and President Paul Kagame. She is based in London.


Jeanine Ntihirageza has a PhD in Linguistics from University of Chicago. She grew up in a mixed, Hutu-Tutsi family and knew Burundi’s 1972 genocide firsthand. Professor at Northeastern Illinois University, since 2013, she has bene founding director and chair of its Center for Genocide and Human Rights Research in Africa and the Diaspora. Her research concerns linguistics, language teaching, and refugee and genocide studies, with Critical Perspectives on African Genocide and “Repenser pour mieux panser: A survivor’s account of the 1972 Burundi genocide” among her publications. A Kirundi and French speaker, Ntihirageza has long worked with community organizations focusing on resettled African refugees, while collecting genocide survivor stories as part of a Northeastern oral history project.


Godefroid Muzalia, professor of history at ISP-Bukavu, was born in Bukavu in 1968, and worked for five 1994 months assisting Rwandan refugees fleeing genocide into his city. He received his PhD in Political Science at Ghent University in 2011, after studying history in Bukavu. He is a leading expert of violence and armed group configurations in Congo’s Kivu provinces. Within this highly saturated research environment, he pioneered efforts to decolonize collaborative research and give authorship, voice, and skills to Congolese researchers. Since 2013, he has directed Bukavu’s Groupe d’Etudes sur les Conflits et la Sécurité Humaine (GEC-SH). He has co-directed many projects with scholars at Ghent University and other leading institutions of the North and South regarding conflict research, peace, and security, including the Rift Valley Institute, Nordic African Institute, Makerere’s Refugee Law project, and the SSRC. His many publications cover the return of refugees, urban insecurity, the land rush, armed group stabilization, and popular practices of security and justice.


David Newbury is Professor of History (emeritus) at Smith College in Northampton MA. He previously taught at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  He first went to Uganda in 1964, and has lived, taught, and conducted research in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo. His many publications range from the region’s precolonial history, the origins of violence in 1990s and 2000s Rwanda and Congo, and the historiography of the Great Lakes region. Notable books are Kings and Clans and The Land Beyond the Mists. He also edited Defeat Is the Only Bad News by Alison Deforges. 


Aidan Russell is a historian at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. His first monograph, Politics and Violence in Burundi: The Language of Truth in an Emerging State (Cambridge, 2019), examines the late colonial and first postcolonial decades of Burundi with an eye to its border with Rwanda. He argues that political and idiomatic “languages of truth” -- dogmatic slogans and strategic words of loyalty, rumor, and accusation – shaped postcolonial relationships between the state and its subjects, and also enabled Burundi’s “forgotten” genocide of 1972. He also co-edited Truth, Silence and Violence in Emerging States (Routledge, 2019). His 2013 PhD in 2013 is from St Cross College, Oxford. He was elected research fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, before accepting his post in history in Geneva.


Nancy Rose Hunt first went to Africa’s Great Lakes region in 1987-88 as a Fulbright researcher in Bujumbura, Burundi. There she first read René Lemarchand and learned about the 1972 genocide and forms of secrecy and suppressed memories since. She returned to the region, via Kigali, to Bukavu in 2018, and began research for a book-in-progress on madness (in many hues) and the psychiatric in Bukavu and its wider field. UF Professor of History, she is author of two historical ethnographies set in Congo, A Colonial Lexicon (Duke 1992) and A Nervous State (Duke 2016). With Achille Mbembe, she directs the Theory in Forms book series, at Duke University Press.


Leonardo A. Villalón is a leading specialist of the Sahel and edited and coordinated The Oxford Handbook of the African Sahel(with 9 sections and 40 contributions), forthcoming. He founded and coordinates UF’s Sahel Research Group, and is a former director of UF’s Center for African Studies (2002-2011). Dean of the UF International Center, he is also Professor of Political Science & African Studies


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Nancy Rose Hunt, Professor of History, U of Florida

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