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Title: Talking politics and watching the border in Northern Burundi, c.1960-1972
Author: Russell, Aidan Sean
ISNI:       0000 0004 2036 2084
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This is the history of a turbulent borderland in a time of transition. Colonialism redefined the meaning of borders in Burundi, and in the traumatic shift from colonial rule to Independence it became dangerous to live on the frontier. Responding to Newbury’s plea to ‘bring the peasant back in’ to the written history of the Great Lakes region, the thesis takes a micro-history approach, viewing the tumultuous events of the 1960s and 1970s from the perspective of the hills and the homestead. The border with Rwanda, as experienced in the two communes of Kabarore and Busiga, is tested as the point of encounter between society and state in this crucial time. It reveals the function and dysfunction of political linkage, and the tensions of being a citizen and a subject in the margins of a political community ruled by suspicion and paranoia. The themes - dissent, collaboration, elimination, repression - link this local history to the flow of national politics and the making of a new African state. Taking as its scope the pivotal period from decolonisation to the military state’s ‘selective genocide’, enacted against its Hutu population, the thesis identifies ‘vigilance’ as the most productive concept by which to study concepts of governance, political community and political linkage in the Great Lakes at the vital point of transformation. A communicative act that blends the stance of the citizen and the subject to shape a means of cautious cooperation and mutual recognition between people and state, vigilance also proved the destructive weapon that violently distilled the population into a subjugated peasantry beneath a bloodied state. The interaction on the border reveals these vital issues in acute contrast, opening the door to their examination elsewhere. This thesis studies the border; its conclusions may be chased far beyond it.
Supervisor: Anderson, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History ; History of Africa ; International,imperial and global history ; Burundi ; Rwanda ; borderlands ; politics ; genocide