Coping with Conflict and Mass Violence: Memory, Trauma, and Recovery

Posted On April 26, 2016
Categories Featured Research

PI and Contact Person: Jennie E. Burnet (

This project explores the problems of survivorship and the long-term cultural, social, and psychological consequences of conflict and mass violence. This line of research has produced an award-winning book entitled, Genocide Lives in Us: Women, Memory, and Silence in Rwanda, (2012, University of Wisconsin Press). Based on ethnographic research conducted in Rwanda over 15 years, the book explores the roles of women in post-genocide reconstruction in Rwanda and the politics of remembering the 1994 genocide and the civil war. The book proposes a new theoretical concept, “amplified silence,” that captures the impact of state hegemony on individual and family-level mourning practices and on the cultural production of memory. The book concludes that women’s leading role in Rwanda’s renaissance was due to three factors: the dire situation after the genocide forced women into new roles, the advocacy of the Rwandan women’s movement, and the postgenocide government’s decision to mainstream women.

Through collaboration with a graduate student, this project is now exploring the ways political economy impacts U.S. military veterans living with PTSD. I am actively seeking collaborators to produce in depth comparative work that explores the cultural aspects of psychosocial trauma, transitional justice and peacebuilding, and other coping mechanisms