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Human Remains in SocietyCuration and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Genocide and Mass-Violence$
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Élisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526107381

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526107381.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 08 April 2020

(Re)cognising the corpse: individuality, identification and multidirectional memorialisation in post-genocide Rwanda

(Re)cognising the corpse: individuality, identification and multidirectional memorialisation in post-genocide Rwanda

Chapter:
(p.113) 5 (Re)cognising the corpse: individuality, identification and multidirectional memorialisation in post-genocide Rwanda
Source:
Human Remains in Society
Author(s):

Ayala Maurer-Prager

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526107381.003.0006

Given the lack of individualised corpses, how do Rwanda’s principal memorial sites-Nyamata, Nyarubuye and Murambi – function as commemorative grounds? Should each corpse be named to combat the facelessness with which genocidal perpetrators paint their victims? How do perceptions of the corpse shift with the endowment of individuality. There is the possibility that the resistance to discussing the corpse in studies of genocide and mass violence is the result of its being largely understood as inhering within a post-violence landscape, as a product of violence rather than representing violence itself. The chapter will examine a number of texts detailing the Rwandan genocide – both fictional and autobiographical – and the way in which they describe corpses of victims being literal parts of the landscape. Through literary depictions of the corpse by Jean Hatzfeld, Boubacar Boris Diop and Philip Gourevitch, this chapter will suggest that the significance of the corpse has shifted within national consciousness; while constantly being a symbol of death and a call to mourning, the corpse has, in spite of its anonymity at commemorative sites, become the means by which the Rwandan community have begun to come to terms with their loss.

Keywords:   Rwanda, Corpses, Literary fiction, Genocide, Memorial, bones

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