- BA, Anthropology, Colby College, 2014
What shape does the Rwandan state take in the everyday lives of those living on the peripheries of state power? How do citizens experience, navigate, and negotiate the presence of the state in their everyday lives and what can this tell us about future political possibilities for the country? I address these questions by mapping the scope and depth of the Rwandan state in the lives of those who live in its margins. Using recent multi-sited ethnography, I seek to understand the role of the Rwandan state in the everyday lives of three different groups: citizens in rural northwestern Rwanda, former Rwandan refugees in western Uganda, and members of the Rwandan National Congress (RNC) in Washington D.C. Understanding each group’s distinct relationships to the
state and each other offers insight into the dynamics of state-making in and beyond borders; it is also critical for analyzing the potential for future violence in Rwanda, an underlying goal of t his project. I This research will have broad use in conversations about the ethnography of the state and comparative use in understanding the makings of other African autocracies. At Colby College, I completed an honors thesis on state-led social engineering projects and everyday forms of resistance in Rwanda based off of original fieldwork in Kigali. I’ve spent the last three and half years living and working in Uganda and Rwanda – first with a nonprofit that did participatory planning and small grant making with rural villages and now with a social business that makes and sells reusable sanitary pads.
Advisor: Dr. Knauft