Save

Beyond Tribalism: The Hutu-Tutsi Question and Catholic Rhetoric in Colonial Rwanda

In: Journal of Religion in Africa
Author:
J.J. Carney Department of Theology, Creighton University Omaha, NE, USA jaycarney@creighton.edu

Search for other papers by J.J. Carney in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution

Purchase

Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):

$40.00

Abstract

Post genocide commentaries on colonial Rwandan history have emphasized the centrality of the Hamitic Hypothesis in shaping Catholic leaders’ sociopolitical imagination concerning Hutu and Tutsi identities. For most scholars, the resulting racialist interpretation of Hutu and Tutsi categories poisoned Rwandan society and laid the groundwork for postcolonial ethnic violence. This paper challenges the simplicity of this standard narrative. Not only did colonial Catholic leaders possess a complex understanding of the terms ‘Hutu’ and ‘Tutsi’, but the Hutu-Tutsi question was not the exclusive or even dominant paradigm of late colonial Catholic discourse. Even after the eruption of Hutu-Tutsi tensions in the late 1950s, Catholic bishops and lay elites continued to interpret the Hutu-Tutsi distinction in a wide variety of ways. Catholic attitudes and the escalation of Hutu-Tutsi tensions stemmed more from contextual political factors than immutable anthropological theories, however flawed.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 3087 431 29
Full Text Views 653 46 4
PDF Views & Downloads 657 96 13