Purity And Exile: Violence, Memory, and National Cosmology among Hutu Refugees in Tanzania

Paperback | August 15, 1995

byLiisa H. Malkki

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In this study of Hutu refugees from Burundi, driven into exile in Tanzania after their 1972 insurrection against the dominant Tutsi was brutally quashed, Liisa Malkki shows how experiences of dispossession and violence are remembered and turned into narratives, and how this process helps to construct identities such as "Hutu" and "Tutsi."

Through extensive fieldwork in two refugee communities, Malkki finds that the refugees' current circumstances significantly influence these constructions. Those living in organized camps created an elaborate "mythico-history" of the Hutu people, which gave significance to exile, and envisioned a collective return to the homeland of Burundi. Other refugees, who had assimilated in a more urban setting, crafted identities in response to the practical circumstances of their day to day lives. Malkki reveals how such things as national identity, historical consciousness, and the social imagination of "enemies" get constructed in the process of everyday life. The book closes with an epilogue looking at the recent violence between Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda and Burundi, and showing how the movement of large refugee populations across national borders has shaped patterns of violence in the region.

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From Our Editors

This book explores how essentialized categories of identity such as 'Hutu' and 'Tutsi' are produced through violence and exile. A pioneering study of statelessness and memory, this book is an important contribution to anthropology, history, and cultural studies.

From the Publisher

In this study of Hutu refugees from Burundi, driven into exile in Tanzania after their 1972 insurrection against the dominant Tutsi was brutally quashed, Liisa Malkki shows how experiences of dispossession and violence are remembered and turned into narratives, and how this process helps to construct identities such as "Hutu" and "Tuts...

From the Jacket

This book explores how essentialized categories of identity such as 'Hutu' and 'Tutsi' are produced through violence and exile. A pioneering study of statelessness and memory, this book is an important contribution to anthropology, history, and cultural studies.

Format:PaperbackDimensions:374 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:August 15, 1995Publisher:University Of Chicago Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226502724

ISBN - 13:9780226502724

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Narrative Panels
Acknowledgments
Maps
Introduction: An Ethnography of Displacement in the National Order of Things
1: Historical Contexts, Social Locations: A Road Map
2: The Mythico-History
3: The Uses of History in the Refugee Camp: Living the Present in Historical Terms
4: Town Refugees: A Pragmatics of Identity
5: The Danger of Assimilation and the Purity of Exile
6: Consciousness and Liminality in the Cosmological Order of Nations
Postscript: Return to Genocide
Notes
References
Index

From Our Editors

This book explores how essentialized categories of identity such as 'Hutu' and 'Tutsi' are produced through violence and exile. A pioneering study of statelessness and memory, this book is an important contribution to anthropology, history, and cultural studies.