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From Classrooms to Conflict in Rwanda

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  • Date Published: August 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107557550
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$ 32.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This book questions the conventional wisdom that education builds peace by exploring the ways in which ordinary schooling can contribute to intergroup conflict. Based on fieldwork and comparative historical analysis of Rwanda, it argues that from the colonial period to the genocide, schooling was a key instrument of the state in contributing to the construction, awareness, collectivization, and inequality of ethnic groups in Rwanda – all factors that underlay conflict. The book further argues that today's post-genocide schools are dangerously replicating past trends. This book is the first to offer an in-depth study of education in Rwanda and to analyze its role in the genesis of conflict. The book demonstrates that to build peace, we cannot simply prescribe more education, but must understand who has access to schools, how schools are set up, and what and how they teach.

    • The first book to offer an in-depth study of education in Rwanda and to analyze its role in the genesis of historic and contemporary conflict
    • Focuses on Rwanda before and after the genocide
    • Findings are relevant for the study and practice of education and peace building around the world
    • Has a cross-disciplinary approach, blending political science and international education
    Read more


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2015

    Reviews & endorsements

    "From Classrooms to Conflict in Rwanda argues that the content and format of education, not just its availability, really matter. Elisabeth King proposes that in each of Rwanda's three principal modern political epochs – colonial, republic, and post-genocide – education and schooling exacerbated differences and horizontal inequalities, fostered stigma, and nourished competition for resources. King's writing is clear and lively, her organization is solid, and her thesis is firmly delivered. King has a very sensitive and intuitive understanding of the complexities of Rwandan history and of Rwandan political life today. This book is a gem."
    Mark A. Drumbl, Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law and Director, Transnational Law Institute, Washington & Lee University, School of Law

    "While other analyses of the Rwandan genocide have mentioned education among the many factors making the violence possible, this is the first attempt to look systematically at the role of education in relationship to conflict in Rwanda. This is also one of very few texts to look at Rwanda both before and after the genocide, rather than focusing on one era or the other. King draws extensively on secondary sources but also on a number of interviews that she conducted with people who have been either students or teachers in Rwandan schools at different points of time as well as with experts in education in Rwanda. This book should have broad interest, appealing to those with interests in education, conflict, and African affairs."
    Timothy P. Longman, Director of the African Studies Center, Boston University

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    Customer reviews

    24th Jan 2014 by SAR

    This book is a must-read for any person interested in understanding Rwandan society today. It is also a must-read for any person who wishes to know more about the role that education can play in post-conflict environments. Dr. King debunks several myths and forces us to reevaluate our understanding of peacebuilding and of Rwandan politics. From Classrooms to Conflicts in Rwanda develops a groundbreaking and nuanced analysis of the role of education in the violence and peace process that recently took place in Rwanda. The argument is highly original and the analysis of Rwandan politics and society extremely strong. As a result, the book makes crucial contributions to the fields of education and conflict resolution in addition to furthering our understanding of past and current Rwandan society. From Classroom to Conflict is also engaging, extremely well written and extremely well documented. I enthusiastically recommend it.

    Review was not posted due to profanity


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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107557550
    • length: 226 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.36kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 1 map 11 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Moving education from the margins to the mainstream
    2. Colonial schooling
    3. Schooling under the Rwandan republics
    4. Schooling after genocide
    5. Education for peace building: Rwanda in comparative perspective
    6. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Elisabeth King, New York University
    Elisabeth King is Associate Professor at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, New York University. Her work focuses on conflict, peace building, and development in sub-Saharan Africa. King's work has appeared in such journals as African Studies Review, the Journal of Genocide Studies and Prevention, and the Journal of Development Effectiveness, as well as several edited volumes. King has conducted fieldwork in Croatia, India, Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda, and Tanzania. She has worked with NGOs and policy makers on the global land-mine crisis, education issues, and community-driven development. King uses a variety of research methods to examine how development and peace-building interventions really work (or not) for people in the global south.


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2015

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