3 thoughts to “Research Design Presentation”

  1. Great research design thus far Savannah! First, I think examining this issue through interpretivist research is very fitting, as you are seeking to understand a shift in collective understanding around the purpose of churches. Because you have chosen to broadly define which actors you are examining, you are going to have to understand a wide array of power dynamics in your reading of texts. Also, your different groups of actors would seem to intersect (as church leaders could be perpetrators and/or victims, etc). I am interested to see if a pattern emerges where certain actors are most likely to represented churches in a specific manner. The same can be said for your different types of data sources. One specific element I think is going to be challenging for you is identifying the actual shift from one representation to another. I would imagine most of the texts you can examine would be either from before or after the genocide, not during it, as the genocide in Rwanda was both very short and obviously chaotic. I imagine it will be relatively easy to identify the two different representations, but understanding how exactly that shift happened may be difficult when there is a lack of sources from when that actual shift occurred. But perhaps those sources are available, and therefore would be incredibly useful. I would suggest be very careful about when your sources were created, as well as the time period they discuss.

  2. Savannah – your presentation was very easy to understand and overall, well-done! In your literature review, you did a good job of mentioning pre-existing theories, but how exactly does your research engage with them? What are the shortcomings/gaps of this research? When researching actors, what are the power dynamics you anticipate to see among them? Do you believe certain people’s voices will hold more wait than others? Will the state’s words hold more sway than that of a victim? How does this then contribute to the meaning-making involved in interpretivist research? In terms of evaluative standards, you detail different aspects of them each very well, but what about things like member checking? Especially since you are analyzing people’s testimonies, it can be important to make sure your subjects can look at your research in terms of accuracy and representations of themselves as part of your research. Do you think that will be possible since your testimonies are pre-existing and you did not interview those people personally? How do you think you can address this, since you are probably not going to go to Rwanda and interview people yourself? Overall, I enjoyed your presentation, and I look forward to seeing where your research takes you in 306!

  3. Hi Savannah!

    This is a very interesting and often overlooked aspect of the Rwandan genocide, so I think you’ve done a good job explaining your topic and justifying your object of inquiry and its dichotomous representations.
    In regards to your bodies of literature, there are many subcategories you mention like collective action or internal motivation for conflict or teachings of the church, so I was wondering if you will focus on a few in particular and how they can be specifically applied to your topic/puzzle.

    Reviewing Aradau’s human trafficking piece could serve as a useful model because she also studies two different constructions of the same object and how the meanings coexist in the same space. Kalima’s testimonies of the different meanings behind the church are eye-opening, so one suggestion in a discourse analysis of such pieces would be remembering what Dunn and Neumann (and Foucault) discuss in their piece about discourses being more than speeches and texts and rhetoric. Language shapes them, but they are also what makes it possible for actions like killing in churches despite a belief in Christian values existing. It is deeper than words–it’s a communal shared understanding that leads to inaction or acceptance of these crimes.

    Overall, I’m looking forward to learning about what you find. Good luck!!

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