Collaborative research in Rwanda
How can research collaborations change policy-making and academic writings on justice in post-genocide Rwanda? Dr Nicola Palmer is currently working with the Aegis Trust, a UK and Rwandan-based charity, on an innovative peer-to-peer mentoring project designed to answer this question.
Unsettling the assumed sites of knowledge generation on post-conflict countries, this initiative supports 12 projects formulated and led by Rwandan researchers who are asking tough legal and social question about life in Rwanda following the 1994 genocide. In doing so it aims to move beyond the polarisation of scholarship on the country in which the Rwandan State is either framed as a model of African development or as authoritarian regime in which the generation of knowledge inside of the country is shaped by the government’s construction of events and the self-censorship of the majority of the population.
The project enables the type of relational research argued for by Dr Palmer in her recently edited Special Issue of the Canadian Journal of Law and Society entitled, ‘Ways of Knowing Atrocity: A methodological enquiry into the formulation, implementation and assessment of transitional justice’ and is in line with her longer term work on the plural interactions among international, national and community level post-genocide justice processes. The project emerged from a consultation meeting hosted by the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prevention of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity in June 2014 and forms part of the Research, Policy and Higher Education (RPHE) programme at Aegis led by Dr Phil Clark, Reader in Comparative and International Politics at SOAS. The work is supported by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID).