Randall Arlin Fegley Joins IAGS: New Book Published with Rowman Littlefield
Randall Fegley recently joined IAGS. He is a political historian at Pennsylvania State University’s Berks College. Professor Fegley specializes in the study of mass trauma, especially long-term conflicts, gross human rights violations and prolonged disasters in Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda, South Sudan and Sudan. He lived, taught and completed Ph.D. research in Sudan from 1980 to 1984 and has returned to work there and in other African countries numerous times. In November 2003, he received Penn State Berks’ Beaver Community Service Award for restoring schools in war-torn Kajo Keji County as part of a program of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem. He has been particularly active in the Sudan Studies Association, the leading scholarly organization on Sudan. Host of the SSA’s 22nd annual conference in May 2002 and a member of the association’s board from 2003 to 2007, he has also served as the organization’s president and executive director. As the coordinator of Penn State’s four-year degree program in Global Studies, he set up an internship program in Rwanda. His latest book is available in hardback and electronic formats at https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781498519441/A-History-of-Rwandan-Identity-and-Trauma-The-Mythmakers'-Victims. His other published works have examined Rwandan, Sudanese, Belgian and Equatorial Guinean political history, the mythologies that perpetuate conflict; elections and governance in post-trauma societies; and the rehabilitation of former slaves and child soldiers. He and his wife Connie live in Pennsylvania.
His book, A History of Rwandan Identity and Trauma: The Mythmakers' Victims, was published by Rowman and Littlefield in March of this year. The book’s introduction reviews literature on the concepts of myth and trauma; then introduces basic information on Rwanda and how it has been viewed by the outside world. Chapter One describes early Rwanda’s political and cultural development, traditional narratives, group migrations, the effects of German and later Belgian colonialism and the introduction of Christianity. It concludes with a look at how this early history has been interpreted and reinterpreted. The second chapter discusses the end of Tutsi dominance and the 1959 Hutu Revolution. It details Hutu Power ideology, Belgian domestic politics, early acts of genocide, refugee movements and economic and political stagnation. The text documents the development of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, its 1990 invasion and the Arusha peace process. An account of the 1994 genocide follows. However, as this has been covered in numerous other works, descriptions are limited to key events and general patterns. The chapter ends with a review of films, books and other publications that brought Rwanda’s plight to a worldwide audience, but have also created new myths. Chapter Three examines the country’s post-genocide reconstruction and attempts to bring justice and reconciliation through the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania and gacaca courts domestically. Rwanda’s impressive record of economic progress over the last two decades is detailed. However, prospects for democracy have diminished, as its leaders have become increasingly sensitive to criticism and fearful of renewed divisions. Descriptions of the process of developing school curriculums to explain past atrocities, the new myths it created and their possible consequences comprises most of Chapter Four. The final chapter offers conclusions on the effects of past mythologies and the trauma they have wrought. It draws comparisons with other divided societies and their approaches to dealing with the past. These include Burundi, Ethiopia, South Africa, the United States, Taiwan, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland and Singapore. An extensive bibliography of books, theses, conference papers, official documents, articles, periodicals, journals, films, websites, other media and interviews includes translations of titles in Kinyarwanda, French, Dutch and German.