ANNOUNCEMENT: Unfortunately, due to extenuating personal circumstances, Amy Latimer will no longer be able to attend our seminar. Bethany Brewer will still share her work on Rwandan Women and the Gacaca Courts.
Don’t miss the first of our two Black History Month special seminars!
Amy Latimer (Leicester) and Bethany Brewer (Durham) will be sharing their papers around the topic of Black Women and Civil and Criminal Justice.
Wednesday, 12 October 2022, 4pm BST/GMT+1
Sign up on Zoom here.
‘Working Twice as Hard: The Elections of Black Women Since the Passage of the Civil Rights Movement’ (Amy Latimer)
‘Women and the Rwandan Gacaca Courts: Gender, Genocide, and Justice’ (Bethany Brewer)
This presentation will consider the gacaca trials of women accused of involvement in the perpetration of the Rwandan genocide, asking whether, how, and how far ideas about gender helped them to defend themselves against charges of genocide. It will draw upon analysis of court reports of the trials of ninety-one accused women. These sources reveal that ideas about gender – particularly female peacefulness and subservience – were commonly invoked by both accused women and wider trial participants, helping women to achieve acquittals. Some accused women also drew upon the gendered behaviour of women’s public silence to avoid generating evidence against themselves in these court spaces. Yet, these court reports also reveal that certain women faced heightened stigma during trials for allegations of transgressing gendered expectations of women’s peacefulness and domestic roles. The case studies in this presentation will be used to show that gacaca failed to confront fully women’s agency during the perpetration of the genocide, while simultaneously functioning as a tool that made moral judgements about contemporary Rwandan women’s behaviour.
About the Speaker
Beth Brewer is in her final year of a PhD in the History Department at Durham University, funded by the ESRC. Her research examines the court trials of women accused of involvement in the perpetration of the Rwandan genocide, paying particular attention to whether and how ideas about gender impacted their defences, testimonies, agency, and experiences when on trial. She also acts as the coordinator for the Durham University Centre for Contemporary African History.