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Violence and Reconciliation in Eastern Africa (PO390)

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Eastern Africa has witnessed widespread, acute and protracted episodes of violence over the last three decades – from the Rwandan genocide and widespread crisis emanating from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Kenyan postelection violence of 2007-2008, and the terror caused by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. At the same time, the region is born witness to a wide range of creative transitional justice and reconciliation mechanisms which have met with varying degrees of success. This module explores the complex local, national, regional and international dynamics of violence across eastern Africa and examines the impact of the various reconciliation and transitional justice efforts in comparative perspective. It analyses the underlying causes of violence in Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, South Sudan and Kenya, and raises questions over the prospects for future peace and stability in these countries.

Programme content:

Adopting a case study approach, this module will provide you with the theoretical and conceptual tools to develop an in-depth understanding of conflict dynamics in Rwanda, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Kenya, and it will enable you to critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of transitional justice and reconciliation mechanisms. The first term is devoted to an analysis of the root causes of, and the motivations for, violence in eastern Africa, exploring the different theoretical understandings of conflict and evaluating their applicability to the empirical cases. In the second half of the module, focus shifts to the mechanisms of transitional justice and reconciliation adopted in these countries, and critically evaluates their potential for creating peace and stability. You are encouraged to engage not only with the academic literature, but also with newspaper articles, government reports, NGO sources and human rights documents, and by the end of the module you’ll be able to engage in theoretical, empirical and comparative analyses of violence and reconciliation in the region.