Critical Writing Index

Global Humanitarism, Race, and the Spectacle of the African Corpse in Current Western Representations of the Rwandan Genocide

by Heike Harting

Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 2008, v. 28, no. 1, pp. 61-77

The author examines how different media represent the 1994 Rwandan genocide both to shape the popular imagination about the political conditions of the African continent as a whole and to generate key images that have become the defining yet dehistoricized moments of this genocide. Haring juxtaposes readings of Gil Courtemanche’s novel Un dimanche à la piscine à Kigali (A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali) and Marcel Odenbach’s

video installation In Still Ponds Crocodiles May Be Lurking to examine how these two medias engage with the rhetorical constitution and appropriation of images of the dead or suffering African body. Through their different narrative and generic contexts, the author suggests, the novel and the video installation invite a critique of the ways in which they condition and/or challenge the production of affect and humanitarianist modes of perceiving and constructing the abject African body.

ITEM 2008.166 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

In Still Ponds Crocodiles May Be LurkingMarcel Odenbach