Cambridge Catalogue  
  • Help
Home > Catalogue > Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda
Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda


  • 3 maps
  • Page extent: 372 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.59 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521191395)

Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda
Cambridge University Press
9780521191395 - Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda - By Timothy Longman

Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda

Although Rwanda is among the most Christian countries in Africa, in the 1994 genocide, church buildings became the primary killing grounds. To explain why so many Christians participated in the violence, this book looks at the history of Christian engagement in Rwanda and then turns to a rich body of original national- and local-level research to argue that Rwanda’s churches have consistently allied themselves with the state and played ethnic politics. Comparing two local Presbyterian parishes in Kibuye before the genocide demonstrates that progressive forces were seeking to democratize the churches. Just as Hutu politicians used the genocide of Tutsi to assert political power and crush democratic reform, church leaders supported the genocide to secure their own power. The fact that Christianity inspired some Rwandans to oppose the genocide demonstrates that opposition by the churches was possible and might have hindered the violence.

Timothy Longman is director of the African Studies Center at Boston University, where he also serves as associate professor of political science. From 1996 to 2009, he served as associate professor of political science and Africana studies at Vassar College. He has also taught at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa; the National University of Rwanda in Butare; and Drake University in Des Moines. He has served as a consultant in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo for USAID and the State Department, the International Center for Transitional Justice, and Human Rights Watch, for whom he served as director of the Rwanda field office 1995–1996. From 2001 to 2005, he served as a Research Fellow for the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, directing research on social reconstruction in post-genocide Rwanda. His articles have appeared in African Studies Review, The Journal of Religion in Africa, Journal of the American Medical Association, Comparative Education Review, Journal of Genocide Research, and America, and he is currently completing a book manuscript titled Memory, Justice, and Power in Post-Genocide Rwanda.

African Studies

The African Studies Series, founded in 1968, is a prestigious series of monographs, general surveys, and textbooks on Africa covering history, political science, anthropology, economics, and ecological and environmental issues. The series seeks to publish work by senior scholars as well as the best new research.

David Anderson
University of Oxford
Catherine Boone
University of Texas at Austin
Carolyn Brown
Rutgers University
Christopher Clapham
University of Cambridge
Michael Gomez
New York University
Nancy J. Jacobs
Brown University
Richard Roberts
Stanford University
David Robinson
Michigan State University
Leonardo A. Villalón
University of Florida

Books in This Series

City Politics: A Study of Léopoldville, 1962–63, J. S. LaFontaine

Studies in Rural Capitalism in West Africa, Polly Hill

Land Policy in Buganda, Henry W. West

The Nigerian Military: A Sociological Analysis of Authority and Revolt, 1960–67, Robin Luckham

The Ghanaian Factory Worker: Industrial Man in Africa, Margaret Peil

Labour in the South African Gold Mines, Francis Wilson

The Price of Liberty: Personality and Politics in Colonial Nigeria, Kenneth W. J. Post and George D. Jenkins

Subsistence to Commercial Farming in Present Day Buganda: An Economic and Anthropological Survey, Audrey I. Richards, Fort Sturrock and Jean M. Fortt (eds.)

Dependence and Opportunity: Political Change in Ahafo, John Dunn and A. F. Robertson

African Railwaymen: Solidarity and Opposition in an East African Labour Force, R. D. Grillo

Islam and Tribal Art in West Africa, René A. Bravmann

Modern and Traditional Elites in the Politics of Lagos, P. D. Cole

Asante in the Nineteenth Century: The Structure and Evolution of a Political Order, Ivor Wilks

Culture, Tradition and Society in the West African Novel, Emmanuel Obiechina

Saints and Politicians, Donald B. Cruise O’Brien

The Lions of Dagbon: Political Change in Northern Ghana, Martin Staniland

Politics of Decolonization: Kenya Europeans and the Land Issue 1960–1965, Gary B. Wasserman

Muslim Brotherhoods in Nineteenth-Century Africa, B. G. Martin

Warfare in the Sokoto Caliphate: Historical and Sociological Perspectives, Joseph P. Smaldone

Liberia and Sierra Leone: An Essay in Comparative Politics, Christopher Clapham

Adam Kok’s Griquas: A Study in the Development of Stratification in South Africa, Robert Ross

Class, Power and Ideology in Ghana: The Railwaymen of Sekondi, Richard Jeffries

West African States: Failure and Promise, John Dunn (ed.)

Afrikaners of the Kalahari: White Minority in a Black State, Margo Russell and Martin Russell

A Modern History of Tanganyika, John Iliffe

A History of African Christianity 1950–1975, Adrian Hastings

Slave, Peasants and Capitalists in Southern Angola, 1840–1926, W. G. Clarence-Smith

The Hidden Hippopotamus: Reappraisal in African History: The Early Colonial Experience in Western Zambia, Gwyn Prins

Families Divided: The Impact of Migrant Labour in Lesotho, Colin Murray

Slavery, Colonialism and Economic Growth in Dahomey, 1640–1960, Patrick Manning

Kings, Commoners and Concessionaires: The Evolution and Dissolution of the Nineteenth-Century Swazi State, Philip Bonner

Oral Poetry and Somali Nationalism: The Case of Sayid Mahammad ‘Abdille Hasan, Said S. Samatar

The Political Economy of Pondoland 1860–1930, William Beinart

Volkskapitalisme: Class, Capital and Ideology in the Development of Afrikaner Nationalism, 1934–1948, Dan O’Meara

The Settler Economies: Studies in the Economic History of Kenya and Rhodesia 1900–1963, Paul Mosley

Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa, Paul E. Lovejoy

Amilcar Cabral: Revolutionary Leadership and People’s War, Patrick Chabal

Essays on the Political Economy of Rural Africa, Robert H. Bates

Ijeshas and Nigerians: The Incorporation of a Yoruba Kingdom, 1890s–1970s, J. D. Y. Peel

Black People and the South African War, 1899–1902, Peter Warwick

A History of Niger 1850–1960, Finn Fuglestad

Industrialisation and Trade Union Organization in South Africa 1924–1955, Stephen Ellis

The Rising of the Red Shawls: A Revolt in Madagascar 1895–1899, Stephen Ellis

Slavery in Dutch South Africa, Nigel Worden

Law, Custom and Social Order: The Colonial Experience in Malawi and Zambia, Martin Chanock

Salt of the Desert Sun: A History of Salt Production and Trade in the Central Sudan, Paul E. Lovejoy

Marrying Well: Marriage, Status and Social Change among the Educated Elite in Colonial Lagos, Kristin Mann

Language and Colonial Power: The Appropriation of Swahili in the Former Belgian Congo, 1880–1938, Johannes Fabian

The Shell Money of the Slave Trade, Jan Hogendorn and Marion Johnson

Political Domination in Africa, Patrick Chabal

The Southern Marches of Imperial Ethiopia: Essays in History and Social Anthropology, Donald Donham and Wendy James

Islam and Urban Labor in Northern Nigeria: The Making of a Muslim Working Class, Paul M. Lubeck

Horn and Crescent: Cultural Change and Traditional Islam on the East African Coast, 1800–1900, Randall L. Pouwels

Capital and Labour on the Kimberley Diamond Fields, 1871–1890, Robert Vicat Turrell

National and Class Conflict in the Horn of Africa, John Markakis

Democracy and Prebendal Politics in Nigeria: The Rise and Fall of the Second Republic, Richard A. Joseph

Entrepreneurs and Parasites: The Struggle for Indigenous Capitalism in Zaïre, Janet MacGaffey

The African Poor: A History, John Iliffe

Palm Oil and Protest: An Economic History of the Ngwa Region, South-Eastern Nigeria, 1800–1980, Susan M. Martin

France and Islam in West Africa, 1860–1960, Christopher Harrison

Transformation and Continuity in Revolutionary Ethiopia, Christopher Clapham

Prelude to the Mahdiyya: Peasants and Traders in the Shendi Region, 1821–1885, Anders Bjørkelo

Wa and the Wala: Islam and Polity in Northwestern Ghana, Ivor Wilks

H. C. Bankole-Bright and Politics in Colonial Sierra Leone, 1919–1958, Akintola Wyse

Contemporary West African States, Donald Cruise O’Brien, John Dunn and Richard Rathbone (eds.)

The Oromo of Ethiopia: A History, 1570–1860, Mohammed Hassen

Slavery and African Life: Occidental, Oriental, and African Slave Trades, Patrick Manning

Abraham Esau’s War: A Black South African War in the Cape, 1899–1902, Bill Nasson

The Politics of Harmony: Land Dispute Strategies in Swaziland, Laurel L. Rose

Zimbabwe’s Guerrilla War: Peasant Voices, Norma J. Kriger

Ethiopia: Power and Protest: Peasant Revolts in the Twentieth Century, Gebru Tareke

White Supremacy and Black Resistance in Pre-Industrial South Africa: The Making of the Colonial Order in the Eastern Cape, 1770–1865, Clifton C. Crais

The Elusive Granary: Herder, Farmer, and State in Northern Kenya, Peter D. Little

The Kanyok of Zaire: An Institutional and Ideological History to 1895, John C. Yoder

Pragmatism in the Age of Jihad: The Precolonial State of Bundu, Michael A. Gomez

Slow Death for Slavery: The Course of Abolition in Northern Nigeria, 1897–1936, Paul E. Lovejoy and Jan S. Hogendorn

West African Slavery and Atlantic Commerce: The Senegal River Valley, 1700–1860, James F. Searing

A South African Kingdom: The Pursuit of Security in Nineteenth-Century Lesotho, Elizabeth A. Eldredge

State and Society in Pre-colonial Asante, T. C. McCaskie

Islamic Society and State Power in Senegal: Disciples and Citizens in Fatick, Leonardo A. Villalón

Ethnic Pride and Racial Prejudice in Victorian Cape Town: Group Identity and Social Practice, Vivian Bickford-Smith

The Eritrean Struggle for Independence: Domination, Resistance and Nationalism, 1941–1993, Ruth Iyob

Corruption and State Politics in Sierra Leone, William Reno

The Culture of Politics in Modern Kenya, Angelique Haugerud

Africans: The History of a Continent, John Iliffe

From Slave Trade to ‘Legitimate’ Commerce: The Commercial Transition in Nineteenth-Century West Africa, Robin Law (ed.)

Leisure and Society in Colonial Brazzaville, Phyllis Martin

Kingship and State: The Buganda Dynasty, Christopher Wrigley

Decolonization and African Life: The Labour Question in French and British Africa, Frederick Cooper

Misreading the African Landscape: Society and Ecology in an African Forest Savannah Mosaic, James Fairhead and Melissa Leach

Peasant Revolution in Ethiopia: The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, 1975–1991, John Young

Senegambia and the Atlantic Slave Trade, Boubacar Barry

Commerce and Economic Change in West Africa: The Oil Trade in the Nineteenth Century, Martin Lynn

Slavery and French Colonial Rule in West Africa: Senegal, Guinea and Mali, Martin A. Klein

East African Doctors: A History of the Modern Profession, John Iliffe

Middlemen of the Cameroons Rivers: The Duala and Their Hinterland, c.1600–c.1960, Ralph Derrick, Ralph A. Austen and Jonathan Derrick

Masters and Servants on the Cape Eastern Frontier, 1760–1803, Susan Newton-King

Status and Respectability in the Cape Colony, 1750–1870: A Tragedy of Manners, Robert Ross

Slaves, Freedmen and Indentured Laborers in Colonial Mauritius, Richard B. Allen

Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa, 2nd Edition, Paul E. Lovejoy

The Peasant Cotton Revolution in West Africa: Côte d’Ivoire, 1880–1995, Thomas J. Bassett

Re-Imagining Rwanda: Conflict, Survival and Disinformation in the Late Twentieth Century, Johan Pottier

The Politics of Evil: Magic, State Power and the Political Imagination in South Africa, Clifton Crais

Transforming Mozambique: The Politics of Privatization, 1975–2000, M. Anne Pitcher

Guerrilla Veterans in Post-war Zimbabwe: Symbolic and Violent Politics, 1980–1987, Norma J. Kriger

An Economic History of Imperial Madagascar, 1750–1895: The Rise and Fall of an Island Empire, Gwyn Campbell

Honour in African History, John Iliffe

Africans: History of a Continent, 2nd Edition, John Iliffe

Guns, Race, and Power in Colonial South Africa, William Kelleher Storey

Islam and Social Change in French West Africa: History of an Emancipatory Community, Sean Hanretta

Defeating Mau Mau, Creating Kenya: Counterinsurgency, Civil War, and Decolonization, Daniel Branch

Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda

Timothy Longman

Boston University

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi, Dubai, Tokyo

Cambridge University Press
32 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013–2473, USA
Information on this title:

© Timothy Longman 2010

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2010
Printed in the United States of America

A catalog record for this publication is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication data

Longman, Timothy Paul.
Christianity and genocide in Rwanda / Timothy Longman.
p. cm. – (African studies)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978–0-521–19139-5 (Hardback)
1. Genocide–Rwanda–History–20th century. 2. Genocide–Religious aspects–Christianity. 3. Rwanda–History–Civil War, 1994–Atrocities. 4. Rwanda–History–Civil War, 1994–Religious aspects. 5. Ethnic relations–Religious aspects–Christianity. I. Title. II. Series.
DT450.435.l66 2010
967.57104′31–dc22 2009023321

ISBN 978-0-521-19139-5 Hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of urls for external or third-party Internet Web sites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such Web sites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

To my parents, who have always supported me.

To Jacolijn Post and Isaac Nshimiyimana who made my research in Rwanda possible.

To Alison Des Forges whose friendship and insight will be deeply missed.

And to those many Rwandans who lost their lives in the events of 1994. May your sacrifice never be forgotten.

“What we saw in this country surprised us, too. These were things commanded by the devil.…”

– Hutu man, Gisovu, Kibuye


1         “People Came to Mass Each Day to Pray, Then They Went Out to Kill”: Christian Churches, Civil Society, and Genocide
Part I    “River of Blood”: Rwanda’s National Churches and the 1994 Genocide
2         “Render Unto Caesar and Musinga …”: Christianity and the Colonial State
3         The Churches and the Politics of Ethnicity
4         “Working Hand in Hand”: Christian Churches and the Postcolonial State (1962–1990)
5         “Giants with Feet of Clay”: Christian Churches and Democratization (1990–1992)
6         “It Is the End of the World”: Christian Churches and Genocide (1993–1994)
Part II   “God Has Hidden His Face”: Local Churches and the Exercise of Power in Rwanda
7         Kirinda: Local Churches and the Construction of Hegemony
8         Biguhu: Local Churches, Empowerment of the Poor, and Challenges to Hegemony
9         “Commanded by the Devil”: Christian Involvement in the Genocide in Kirinda and Biguhu
10        Churches and Accounting for Genocide

© Cambridge University Press
printer iconPrinter friendly version AddThis