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The Path to Genocide in Rwanda
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Book description

The shocking characteristics of Rwanda's genocide in 1994 have etched themselves indelibly on the global conscience. The Path to Genocide in Rwanda combines extensive, original field data with some of the best existing evidence to evaluate the myriad theories behind the genocide and to offer a rigorous and comprehensive explanation of how and why it occurred, and why so many Rwandans participated in it. Drawing on interviews with over three hundred Rwandans, Omar Shahabudin McDoom systematically compares those who participated in the violence against those who did not. He contrasts communities that experienced violence early with communities where violence began late, as well as communities where violence was limited with communities where it was massive. His findings offer new perspectives on some of the most troubling questions concerning the genocide, while also providing a broader engagement with key theoretical debates in the study of genocides and ethnic conflict.


‘In this important and wide-reaching analysis, McDoom presents strong empirics - including new data and analysis at the local, regional, and national levels - to generate fresh insight into several key aspects of the Rwandan genocide … The framings and findings speak strongly to literatures on comparative violence and political mobilization, as well as to political science research on how context shapes political behavior and the political meaning of ethnicity.’

Catherine Boone - London School of Economics and Political Science

‘The product of a superb set of studies, carefully researched over the course of a decade and dispassionately analyzed. Most novel is McDoom’s ability to reconstruct stories of what happened at the local level in a way that adds up to a coherent picture … He marries these close-ups to accounts of the politics at the regional and national level … The result is to produce a number of important new insights. Anyone serious about understanding the Rwanda genocide needs to read this book.’

Stuart J. Kaufman - University of Delaware

‘A fresh and wide-reaching analysis of the 1994 Genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda. With a focus that ranges from the local to international levels and drawing on extensive original research, McDoom explores two key questions: Why did the genocide take place, and why did people participate? His argument will shape future discussions not only of the Rwandan case but of comparative genocide studies.’

Timothy Longman - Boston University

‘… provides fresh insights into some of the most troubling questions concerning the genocide that killed between 512,000 and 662,000 Tutsi, including how and why the genocide occurred, and why so many Rwandans participated in it. McDoom reflects on 25 years of scholarship and brings fresh insights gleaned from his new interview data.’

Alex Vines Source: International Affairs

‘an emotive, tragic, well-researched book … the book offers critical nuances on the Rwandan genocide grounded in empirical and theoretical interventions from a well experienced professor of political science … scholarly, engaging, and a significant contribution to comparative political science on conflicts, genocides, security studies, and more importantly adding knowledge beneficial to policy-makers, journalists, human rights advocates, historians, and the like-minded.’

Brian Maregedze Source: African Studies Quarterly

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