Catalogue


When victims become killers : colonialism, nativism, and the genocide in Rwanda /
Mahmood Mamdani.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2001.
description
xvi, 364 p. : map ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0691058210 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2001.
isbn
0691058210 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
4371158
 
Includes bibliographical references (P. [283]-355) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Mahmood Mamdani is Herbert Lehman Professor of Government and Director of the Institute of African Studies at Columbia University.
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"This well written and strongly argued book qualifies Mahmood Mamdani as one of the most articulate, original, and stimulating African social scientists. His interpretation of the Rwandan genocide crisis will cause considerable controversy and will prove a fresh turning point in the process of 'de-inventing' Africa."-- Mamadou Diouf "This is a very impressive piece of work--a scholar's attempt to move beyond the clichs of horror towards a genuine understanding of the social dynamics which made horror possible. It's a good example of relevant, committed, and passionate scholarship."-- Michael Ignatieff "Daring, knowledgeable, and wise, Mahmood Mamdani places the terrible massacres of 1994 in historical, regional, theoretical, and moral perspective. His analysis of Hutu and Tutsi as historically grounded and incessantly changing political identities not only clarifies struggles of the 1990s in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and Congo but also helps identify ways of preventing future bloodshed."-- Charles Tilly "Mamdani's central argument is coherent, consistent, and compelling, and his account of the Rwandan crisis is riveting from beginning to end. It is also rendered with eloquence, generosity of spirit, and political shrewdness. His uncanny ability to use scholarly methods to cast light on public life is admirable and a model for the rest of us."-- Carlos Forment
Flap Copy
"This well written and strongly argued book qualifies Mahmood Mamdani as one of the most articulate, original, and stimulating African social scientists. His interpretation of the Rwandan genocide crisis will cause considerable controversy and will prove a fresh turning point in the process of 'de-inventing' Africa."--Mamadou Diouf"This is a very impressive piece of work--a scholar's attempt to move beyond the clichés of horror towards a genuine understanding of the social dynamics which made horror possible. It's a good example of relevant, committed, and passionate scholarship."--Michael Ignatieff"Daring, knowledgeable, and wise, Mahmood Mamdani places the terrible massacres of 1994 in historical, regional, theoretical, and moral perspective. His analysis of Hutu and Tutsi as historically grounded and incessantly changing political identities not only clarifies struggles of the 1990s in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and Congo but also helps identify ways of preventing future bloodshed."--Charles Tilly"Mamdani's central argument is coherent, consistent, and compelling, and his account of the Rwandan crisis is riveting from beginning to end. It is also rendered with eloquence, generosity of spirit, and political shrewdness. His uncanny ability to use scholarly methods to cast light on public life is admirable and a model for the rest of us."--Carlos Forment
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2001-12-01:
This major study of genocide in Rwanda refines what has become the dominant point of Rwanda historians--contemporary violence between Rwanda's two identity groups has its origins in the colonial period. Paradoxically, Mamdani (international and public affairs, Columbia) begins with ad hominem attacks on African-area studies in the West, then relies almost exclusively on these same secondary sources to make his case. His central claim--Belgian colonialists reconstructed the identity of the Tutsi as an alien (and superior) race--largely echoes Rwanda historians Catharine Newbury and David Newbury, Allison Des Forges, and others. For Mamdani, though, genocidal impulses lurked in the hearts of both colonizer and colonized, and the Tutsi became simply another nonindigenous, racially alien "other" in the Hutu mind. The author goes to great pains to understand the mass participation of local Hutu in the genocide. While partly successful, the effort draws attention away from the small group of Hutu extremists who meticulously planned the genocide. Mamdani thus puts himself at odds with Rwandan scholars such as Timothy Longman, who has sought to emphasize their role. By focusing so intensively on Belgian colonialism and the "decisive role of [Hutu] locals in the genocide" Mamdani also inadvertently deemphasizes the guilt of those who orchestrated the genocide. Academic collections. J. F. Clark Florida International University
Reviews
Review Quotes
Mamdani's central argument is coherent, consistent, and compelling, and his account of the Rwandan crisis is riveting from beginning to end. It is also rendered with eloquence, generosity of spirit, and political shrewdness. His uncanny ability to use scholarly methods to cast light on public life is admirable and a model for the rest of us.
This is a very impressive piece of work--a scholar's attempt to move beyond the clichés of horror towards a genuine understanding of the social dynamics which made horror possible. It's a good example of relevant, committed, and passionate scholarship.
"Nuanced and ground-breaking . . . a book that, unlike any of its kind, holistically encompasses all the underlying factors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. [It] would be useful to anyone who is interested in not only knowing more about Rwandan history, but also how such a tragedy could occur in the modern era."-- African Studies Quarterly
The strengths of the book are clear and admirable. First, it provides what might be called an intellectual history of the Hutu-Tutsi division that is invaluable. . . . Anyone from now on who writes on identity in Central Africa--and there will be many--will have to wrestle with the case that Mamdani has made.
"The strengths of the book are clear and admirable. First, it provides what might be called an intellectual history of the Hutu-Tutsi division that is invaluable. . . . Anyone from now on who writes on identity in Central Africa--and there will be many--will have to wrestle with the case that Mamdani has made."-- Jeffrey Herbst, Foreign Affairs
[A] brilliant study of political identity and violence.
"[A] brilliant study of political identity and violence."-- Elisa von Joeden-Forgey, H-Net Reviews
A genuinely original contribution to understanding the Rwandan catastrophe.
"A genuinely original contribution to understanding the Rwandan catastrophe."-- Dissent
A welcome, powerful, and clear-sighted addition to this literature. . . . When Victims Become Killers represents a great achievement. It is a passionate and strongly argued work, memorable both as scholarship and as a brilliant political polemic.
"A welcome, powerful, and clear-sighted addition to this literature. . . . When Victims Become Killers represents a great achievement. It is a passionate and strongly argued work, memorable both as scholarship and as a brilliant political polemic."-- Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History
Few are better qualified to explain the tensions of post-colonial Africa than Mahmood Mamdani, a Ugandan political scientist with a sharp perspective on the colonially inspired differences between 'subject races'. His Rwandan case-study provides powerful evidence that the Tutsis came to be crushed between colonist and native.
Daring, knowledgeable, and wise, Mahmood Mamdani places the terrible massacres of 1994 in historical, regional, theoretical, and moral perspective. His analysis of Hutu and Tutsi as historically grounded and incessantly changing political identities not only clarifies struggles of the 1990s in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and Congo but also helps identify ways of preventing future bloodshed.
"Mr Mamdani's political settlement is not democracy, which would simply restore the majority Hutus to power, but an acceptance of the Hutu and Tutsi with political, not cultural or class affiliations. He recommends a broad-based constitutional settlement that includes everyone prepared to give up violence whatever their ideology."-- The Economist
Nuanced and ground-breaking . . . a book that, unlike any of its kind, holistically encompasses all the underlying factors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. [It] would be useful to anyone who is interested in not only knowing more about Rwandan history, but also how such a tragedy could occur in the modern era.
"Few are better qualified to explain the tensions of post-colonial Africa than Mahmood Mamdani, a Ugandan political scientist with a sharp perspective on the colonially inspired differences between 'subject races'. His Rwandan case-study provides powerful evidence that the Tutsis came to be crushed between colonist and native."-- Richard Synge, The Independent
[Mamdani's] analysis of Rwandese society, in particular the role of the church in the genocide, is fascinating. . . . Mamdani believes that the tens of thousands of killers who wielded the machetes that murdered 800,000 people in three terrible months of 1994 saw themselves as victims who feared losing out in the struggle for power.
"[Mamdani's] analysis of Rwandese society, in particular the role of the church in the genocide, is fascinating. . . . Mamdani believes that the tens of thousands of killers who wielded the machetes that murdered 800,000 people in three terrible months of 1994 saw themselves as victims who feared losing out in the struggle for power."-- Victoria Brittain, The Guardian
Mr Mamdani's political settlement is not democracy, which would simply restore the majority Hutus to power, but an acceptance of the Hutu and Tutsi with political, not cultural or class affiliations. He recommends a broad-based constitutional settlement that includes everyone prepared to give up violence whatever their ideology.
This book is a must-read. In terms of historical research and analytical depth, When Victims Become Killers is an invaluable academic work. . . . [Mamdani's] arguments are compelling even to those who may wish to disagree with him.
"This book is a must-read. In terms of historical research and analytical depth, When Victims Become Killers is an invaluable academic work. . . . [Mamdani's] arguments are compelling even to those who may wish to disagree with him."-- Monitor (Kampala, Uganda)
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 2001
Los Angeles Times, July 2002
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Rejecting easy explanations of the genocide in Rwanda, one of Africa's best-known intellectuals situates the tragedy in its proper context and helps identify ways of preventing future bloodshed. 3 maps.
Main Description
"When we captured Kigali, we thought we would face criminals in the state; instead, we faced a criminal population." So a political commissar in the Rwanda Patriotic Front reflected after the 1994 massacre of as many as one million Tutsis in Rwanda. Underlying his statement is the realization that, though ordered by a minority of state functionaries, the slaughter was performed by hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens, including even judges, human rights activists, and doctors, nurses, priests, friends, and spouses of the victims. Indeed, it is its very popularity that makes the Rwandan genocide so unthinkable. This book makes it thinkable. Rejecting easy explanations of the genocide as a mysterious evil force that was bizarrely unleashed, one of Africa's best-known intellectuals situates the tragedy in its proper context. He coaxes to the surface the historical, geographical, and political forces that made it possible for so many Hutu to turn so brutally on their neighbors. He finds answers in the nature of political identities generated during colonialism, in the failures of the nationalist revolution to transcend these identities, and in regional demographic and political currents that reach well beyond Rwanda. In so doing, Mahmood Mamdani usefully broadens understandings of citizenship and political identity in postcolonial Africa. There have been few attempts to explain the Rwandan horror, and none has succeeded so well as this one. Mamdani's analysis provides a solid foundation for future studies of the massacre. Even more important, his answers point a way out of crisis: a direction for reforming political identity in central Africa and preventing future tragedies.
Publisher Fact Sheet
Rejecting easy explanations of the genocide as a mysterious evil force that was bizarrely unleashed, Mamdani situates the tragedy in its proper context.
Main Description
"When we captured Kigali, we thought we would face criminals in the state; instead, we faced a criminal population." So a political commissar in the Rwanda Patriotic Front reflected after the 1994 massacre of as many as one million Tutsis in Rwanda. Underlying his statement is the realization that, though ordered by a minority of state functionaries, the slaughter was performed by hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens, including even judges, human rights activists, and doctors, nurses, priests, friends, and spouses of the victims. Indeed, it is its very popularity that makes the Rwandan genocide so unthinkable. This book makes it thinkable.Rejecting easy explanations of the genocide as a mysterious evil force that was bizarrely unleashed, one of Africa's best-known intellectuals situates the tragedy in its proper context. He coaxes to the surface the historical, geographical, and political forces that made it possible for so many Hutu to turn so brutally on their neighbors. He finds answers in the nature of political identities generated during colonialism, in the failures of the nationalist revolution to transcend these identities, and in regional demographic and political currents that reach well beyond Rwanda. In so doing, Mahmood Mamdani usefully broadens understandings of citizenship and political identity in postcolonial Africa.There have been few attempts to explain the Rwandan horror, and none has succeeded so well as this one. Mamdani's analysis provides a solid foundation for future studies of the massacre. Even more important, his answers point a way out of crisis: a direction for reforming political identity in central Africa and preventing future tragedies.
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviationsp. IX
Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. XI
Introduction: Thinking about Genocidep. 3
Defining the Crisis of Postcolonial Citizenship: Settler and Native as Political Identitiesp. 19
The Origins of Hutu and Tutsip. 41
The Racialization of the Hutu/Tutsi Difference under Colonialismp. 76
The "Social Revolution" of 1959p. 103
The Second Republic: Redefining Tutsi from Race to Ethnicityp. 132
The Politics of Indigeneity in Uganda: Background to the RPF Invasionp. 159
The Civil War and the Genocidep. 185
Tutsi Power in Rwanda and the Citizenship Crisis in Eastern Congop. 234
Conclusion: Political Reform after Genocidep. 264
Notesp. 283
Bibliographyp. 343
Indexp. 357
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem