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“They Forgot Their Role”: Women Perpetrators of the Holocaust and the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda

Author:

Sara Elise Brown

USCUS
About Sara
Sara E. Brown is a Postdoctoral Fellow at USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education where she manages post-secondary education programs and initiatives, outreach, and activism around the globe. She holds the first Ph.D. in Comparative Genocide Studies from the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. Brown has published articles in IFjP, Genocide Studies International, and the Armenian Weekly and currently serves on the Advisory Board for the International Association of Genocide Scholars. Brown has worked and conducted research in Rwanda since 2004 and specializes in the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa and women’s experiences during instances of mass violence. She is the author of Gender and the Genocide in Rwanda: Women as Perpetrators and Rescuers.
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Abstract

They Forgot Their Role is a comparative study of women’s actions and agency during genocide, examining women perpetrators of the Holocaust and the genocide in Rwanda. It foregrounds the stories of individuals’ experiences of genocide and examines the impact of deeply entrenched patriarchal systems on women who became perpetrators in Nazi Germany and 1994 Rwanda. It explores how, in both instances, many of the socially prescribed and perpetuated norms of gendered behavior were suspended, modified, or dissolved. It asks how this “relaxing” of the patriarchal order facilitated women’s participation in both genocides and considers the impact of a prevailing silence that has influenced women’s post-genocide trajectories and narratives. Men perpetrators are “ordinary,” women perpetrators are “aberrant, flawed, or inhuman.” And it argues for further discussion and analysis of women perpetrators in contemporary society and in scholarship.
How to Cite: Brown, S.E., 2020. “They Forgot Their Role”: Women Perpetrators of the Holocaust and the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Journal of Perpetrator Research, 3(1), pp.156–185. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21039/jpr.3.1.34
Published on 05 May 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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