Narrating the past in the African Great Lakes region

01 May 2023 → 30 April 2027
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • African history
    • History not elsewhere classified
Rwanda Burundi conflict Congo colonial history African history
Project description

The African Great Lakes region has experienced significant turmoil and violence, with historical narratives often used by politicians and actors to fuel conflict. In these narratives, 'ethnicity' is commonly used as the single source to explain societal divides, but those who have lived through these conflicts emphasize the importance of inter-ethnic relationships and alliances in providing protection. Moreover, oral research suggests that fault lines in local communities are often not ethnic. By focusing on the lived experiences of members of different communities, a more nuanced understanding of social relationships and politics in these societies can be developed. The discourse of actors deeply affects the forms and intensity of violence in conflicts, with armed groups, politicians, and media narratives all mobilizing historical narratives to pit ethnic groups against each other. 'Narrating the past' seeks to construct alternative and counternarratives to this 'single story'.