Type: Public event

Understanding Political Violence in 1994 Rwanda

Date & time

Apr 10, 2014, 8:30 am-5:00 pm EDT


Michigan League, Koessler Room

Free and open to the public.

About the event:
20 years have passed since the political violence in Rwanda occurred touching the lives of millions as victims, perpetrators, bystanders and refugees. While there has been a reasonable amount of attention given to the topic, there have been only a few rigorous efforts put forward to understand what took place. Interestingly, the understanding of what took place has shifted in certain respects from the earlier investigations.

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, the University of Michigan's International Policy Center at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the Department of Political Science will convene a meeting of diverse scholars and practitioners in order to assess how the topic has been studied, what is known about what took place, what is not known and what are the implications of Rwandan political violence for Rwanda and for the study of political conflict and violence, humanitarianism and political order and legitimacy more broadly conceived.

Conference Program

Morning Session:

8:30: Conference registration (coffee will be served)

8:45: Welcome:
Christian Davenport and Allan Stam

9:00: Panel I: A Human Rights Perspective (40 minute lecture followed by Q&A)
Reed M. Wood, Arizona State University

10:15: Panel II: A Historical Perspective (40 minute lecture followed by Q&A)
Filip Reyntjens, University of Antwerp

Afternoon Session:
1:00: Panel III: A Legal Perspective (40 minute lecture followed by Q&A)
Christopher Black- Barrister, Lead Counsel of ICTR
Sonja Star- University of Michigan, Member of ICTR
* International War Crimes Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

2:45: Panel IV: Rwanda 1994- A Conflict Perspective (30 minute lecture each followed by Q&A)
Christian Davenport, University of Michigan
Allan Stam, University of Michigan

4:40 p.m. Closing remarks: Allan Stam and Christian Davenport

Conference Speakers:
Christian Davenport, University of Michigan
Allan Stam, University of Michigan
Reed Wood, Arizona State University
Filip Reyntjens, University of Antwerp
Sonja Starr, University of Michigan
Christopher Black, Lead Defense Counsel at International War Crimes Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

About the speakers:
Christian Davenport is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan as well as a Faculty Associate at the Center for Political Studies. Primary research interests include political conflict (e.g., human rights violations, genocide/politicide, torture, political surveillance, civil war and social movements), measurement, racism and popular culture. He is the author of five books; three solo-authored: How Social Movements Die: Mobilization, Repression and Demobilization of the Republic of New Africa (2013, Cambridge University Press), State Repression and the Promise of Democratic Peace (2007, Cambridge University Press), and Media Bias, Perspective and State Repression: The Black Panther Party (2010, Cambridge University Press) – winner of Best Book in Racial Politics and Social Movements by the American Political Science Association; and, two edited: Repression and Mobilization with Carol Mueller and Hank Johnston (University of Minnesota Press. 2004), and Paths to State Repression: Human Rights Violations and Contentious Politics (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000). Prof. Davenport is the author of numerous articles appearing in the American Political Science Review, the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Comparative Political Studies, and the Monthly Review (among others). He is the recipient of numerous grants (e.g., 6 from the National Science Foundation) and awards (e.g., the Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar Award and a Residential Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences – Stanford University). Others books are underway: In Search of a Number: Rethinking Rwanda, 1994 (with Allan Stam) and, Understanding Untouchability (with numerous authors). For more information, please refer to the following webpage: www.christiandavenport.com.

Allan C. Stam is Professor of Public Policy and Political Science and director of the International Policy Center. His current projects include work on the 1994 Rwandan genocide, investigating leaders' personal backgrounds and their willingness to take risks as heads of state, and modeling the effects of combat trauma on veterans' propensity to engage in criminal behavior. He received his BA and a varsity letter in Heavyweight Crew from Cornell University, and his MA and PhD from the University of Michigan. He served as a communications specialist on an 'A' detachment in the U.S. Army Special Forces and later as an armor officer in the Army Reserves. He is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the recipient of the 2004 Karl Deutsch award, given by the International Studies Association to the scholar under the age of 40 who has made the greatest contribution to the study of international politics. He works as an occasional consultant to the Department of Defense.

Reed M. Wood is Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University. He received his Ph.D. (2010) at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and earned his BA in history and human rights studies at the University of North Carolina-Asheville (2001). His current research focuses on the factors that motivate civilian victimization during insurgency and how such violence influences the trajectory outcomes of rebellion. His research and teaching interests broadly include human rights, state repression, civil conflict, and conflict management. He teaches courses on international relations, political violence and human rights at ASU. Dr. Wood co-manages the Political Terror Scale (PTS), an index of state violations of physical integrity rights. His research has recently been published or is forthcoming in International Organization, the British Journal of Political Science, Conflict Management and Peace Science, and the Journal of Human Rights.

Filip Reyntjens is Professor of African Law and Politics at the Institute of Development Policy and Management, University of Antwerp. He is a full member of the Belgian Royal Academy of Overseas Sciences and a board member of several scientific organizations. Among other assignments, he has been a visiting professor in Paris, Pretoria, Butare (Rwanda), Kinshasa and Mbarara (Uganda), as well as vice-rector of the University of Mbuji-Mayi (DRC). For over 35 years, he has specialised in the law and politics of Sub-Sahara Africa, and the Great Lakes Region in particular, on which he has published several books and hundreds of scholarly articles. His latest books are The Great African War. Congo and Regional Geopolitics, 1996-2006 (Cambridge University Press 2009) and Political governance in post-genocide Rwanda (Cambridge University Press 2013). He has acted as an expert witness on the law and politics of Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC in national courts in countries such as Belgium, Finland, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, the UK and the US, as well as before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He has done consultancy work for several ministries of Foreign Affairs and Development Co-operation and for international NGOs.

Christopher Black is UK born Toronto criminal lawyer who has been involved in international criminal cases at the International War Crimes Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), as a legal advisor to President Milosevic both before and after his transfer to The Hague in 2001 and was Chair of the International Legal Committee set up for his defense and, at the ICTR, as Lead Counsel to General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, Chief of Staff, Rwanda Gendarmerie, the highest ranking officer in the Rwandan Armed Forces in 1994. He is a graduate of McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario and Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto and was called to the Bar in 1978.