Zoe Elizabeth Berman

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Chicago, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9983

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Berman, Zoe (Chicago, U. of) "Intergenerational Memory Practices and Social Transformation in Post-Genocide Rwanda"

ZOE BERMAN, then a graduate student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a grant in August 2020 to aid research on ‘Intergenerational Memory Practices and Social Transformation in Post-Genocide Rwanda,’ supervised by Dr. Jennifer Cole. In recent years, concerns about psychosocial well-being of the youth born after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi have spurred Rwandans of all ages to establish formal and informal intergenerational dialogues in which to discuss the past. Building on these observations, and drawing on studies of memory, generations, and post-conflict contexts, as well as initial fieldwork, this research explores how Rwandans are using memory practices to reconfigure social relationships, with implications for how ‘Rwandan’ identity will be understood in the future. By memory practices, this work refers to the material, affective, and semiotic processes through which memories are internalized, externalized, and rendered capable of circulating. It hypothesizes that through such practices Rwandans negotiate a complicated relationship to the past to transform social boundaries and imaginaries. Tracking the work of official and unofficial memory practices within and across three multi-generational youth-focused organizations, as well as in popular media and at the level of policy, this project explores how ‘memories’ are made tangible in the present and their import on social life. What practices enable individual and collective resolution after violence, and how do these practices change over time?