Violence and Healing in Central Africa


Monday, March 31, 2014 - 15:30


Bert Ingelaere
Bert Ingelaere
Room 423 Tobin Hall
Refreshments will be served

Central Africa and more in particular Africa’s Great Lakes region is marked by a history of intense violence. In this context, peace agreements, transitional justice processes, (psychological) health initiatives or poverty reduction strategies are implemented to restore peace, to facilitate reconciliation or to ameliorate socio-economic wellbeing. However, experiences of extreme poverty, violence and social suffering as well as healing, luck, freedom and prosperity gain meaning in locally relevant ways. The objective of my presentation is to detail the contours of a local epistemology of violence and healing based on extensive fieldwork in the region. An examination of everyday experiences that qualify life and living together in and after violence will guide us towards a map of the moral person. Taking into account the way personhood is socio-culturally constructed seems warranted in the design of the above-mentioned initiatives and strategies.

Bert Ingelaere is post-doctoral research fellow from the Research Foundation – Flanders at the Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB), University of Antwerp and affiliated with the Centre for Research on Peace and Development (CRPD), KU Leuven. He is currently visiting post-doctoral fellow at the Program on Order, Conflict and Violence, Yale University. He has studied philosophy as well as social and cultural anthropology at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) and holds a PhD in Development Studies, University of Antwerp. Since 2004, he has conducted over 35 months of fieldwork in rural Rwanda and Burundi. Previously, he was a researcher for the World Bank in Rwanda and China. His latest research focuses on social mobility in post-conflict/genocide context. He is co-editor of Genocide, Risk and Resilience (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013) and has written several articles and reports for such publications as African Affairs, International Journal of Transitional Justice or Critique of Anthropology.