Translating Post-Genocide Recovery

Kubabarira (Shared Suffering), Justice, and Grassroots Performance Associations in Rwanda

Thursday, February 9, 2017
At 6 PM

Ella Weed Room
Milbank Hall, Room 223
Barnard Campus

Free Event
No reservations necessary

Following the 1994 Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi, the country was in a state of ruin. An indigenous form of mediation known as gacaca was reinvented to try the perpetrators of the genocide. In an effort to establish justice and reconciliation, perpetrators were mandated to declare their guilt and to request forgiveness during the national implementation of the courts between 2004-2012.

Dr. Breed explores the differences between concepts of “forgiveness” and kubabarira, the Rwandan notion of “shared suffering,” considering the justice and reconciliation process both through the formal gacaca courts and performances staged by grassroots associations. She will discuss the negotiations of the gacaca courts to address the espoused goals of justice and reconciliation alongside kubabarira. Her talk will also ask how gacaca has been used as a national performance to stage the power of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, to address the collective guilt of the Hutu population, and to memorialize and commemorate the genocide through a weekly ritual of testimony, justice and reconciliation, excavating memories of the genocide as a traumatic point of departure from which history is rewritten and Rwandanicity is enacted, iterated, and performed.

Dr. Ananda Breed

Ananda Breed is author of Performing the Nation: Genocide, Justice and Reconciliation (Seagull Books 2014) and of several publications addressing transitional systems of governance and the arts. She has worked as a consultant for IREX and UNICEF in Kyrgyzstan on conflict negotiation and has conducted applied performance workshops in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Palestine, Rwanda, and Turkey. Breed is Reader in Performing Arts and Co-director of the Centre for Performing Arts Development at the University of East London.


Sponsored by
Barnard College Department of Theatre,
Stages of Inquiry
Barnard Center for Translation Studies
Willen Seminar in Translation Studies