Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Stories from Rwandan Churches Prior to the Genocide: A Collection of Oral Histories
by Lau, Carmen A., M.A., The University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2019, 98; 13814400
Abstract (Summary)

As a tragedy in which religion did not serve as demarcation between rival groups, the Rwandan Genocide provides an example of Christians killing Christians. I use interviews from 14 Rwandan survivors who were Seventh-day Adventists, a Protestant group to which both heroes and villains belonged. Based on Eisler's Theory of Cultural Transfor-mation, I assume that narratives inform action. I examine oral histories through a frame-work that searches for elements of Girard's Mimetic Rivalry that might have influenced Adventists to participate in violence. In addition, using recollections of verbal discourse heard by participants, I identify words or concepts that could demonstrate relevant compo-nents from Graham and Haidt's Moral Foundation Theory (MFT), and I note biblical refer-ences that were used to justify action. The stories show evidence that the Adventist church imitated the actions of the Rwandan government and broader society and coalesced into scapegoating based on ethnicity. In addition, the stories show the presence of MFT intui-tions that support group cohesion: loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, sancti-ty/degradation. For the Adventists I interviewed, group cohesion did not come from reli-gious affiliation, but from the political imprint of ethnicity.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Verbeek, Peter
Commitee: Fry, Douglas, Reuter, Tina Kempin
School: The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Department: Social and Behavioral Sciences
School Location: United States -- Alabama
Source: MAI 58/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Cultural anthropology, Peace Studies
Keywords: Cultural transformation theory, Mimetic rivalry, Moral foundations theory, Rwandan genocide, Seventh-day adventist, Stories
Publication Number: 13814400
ISBN: 978-1-392-14959-1
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