Research Portfolio Post #9

Meeting with Professor Mohammed Abu-Nimer


Duration: 20 minutes

The meeting began discussing the changes that I have made in my research and my plan moving forward. I explained that my intended question is “How is it possible that the representation of churches as a safe place became major sites of massacres during the Rwandan Genocide?” He recommended that I use that interpretivist question as an umbrella question and develop sub-questions as I continue to research. For example, thinking about subjects like relationship between military and the church, economic aspects, and implications of local Rwandan Catholic Churches and its disconnect from Rome. These addition factors can help augment the original question. He also suggested that I not only look at why the shift in meaning for churches existed, but also how did the Catholic Church handle the shift in the function of the Church. Professor Abu-Nimer encouraged me to look into the purification that occurred in Catholic Churches after the genocide in response to Catholic involvement.

We then spoke about where I would begin collecting and researching this question. One of the major places that I plan to collect information is from first-hand accounts, especially testimonies from Catholics. Another source is the official reports and messages from the Vatican. To ensure the verification of these sources through triangulation, Professor Abu-Nimer suggested conducting 2-3 interviews at the Cathedral and the Vatican embassy. He finally said that if I wanted to take my research a step farther I could speak with the Rwandan embassy. I had not considered conducting interviews with the Vatican or Rwandan embassy but speaking to them for sources could provide a more official lens to add to the research.

Moving forward, I will continue to research about the Rwandan genocide and develop sub-questions to supplement my overarching umbrella question. I will also continue reading testimonies from the genocide.[1] During the break between 206 and 306, I will further my knowledge about the overall history and aftereffects of the genocide and the Catholic Church’s influence in it.

[1] “Genocide Archive Rwanda.” n.d. Accessed December 5, 2019.




“ Genocide Archive Rwanda.” n.d. Accessed December 5, 2019.



Research Portfolio Post #2

Meeting 1 with Professor Mohammed Abu-Nimer


Duration: 25 minutes

The meeting opened with introductions and quick discussion about Professor Mohammed Abu-Nimer’s work involving peacebuilding and religion. He explained his interests in religion and peace occurred after 9/11 and the United States faced a rise in islamophobia. We then moved into speaking about the Olson Scholars Program and the interest of my research question: religion and conflict. My main goal for this meeting was to receive recommendations on ways to create a more concentrated research question and places to find more reading material.

With the concern of specifying my concentration within the research, Professor Mohammed Abu-Nimer first recommended that I pick a specific region of the world to focus on, or to look at specific case studies of religion and conflict. He explained that the role of religion greatly differs depending on the region being studied, so it would be necessary to confine my research to a particular area. He also proposed that I ask the three following questions to begin the research. First, what motivates people to become religious peacemakers? Second, what challenges do these religious peacemakers face. And third, how do the religious peacemakers develop different theology to practice peace rather than conflict? These three questions will help guide my research in the preliminary stages. He then gave me examples of puzzles that he finds interesting domestically. For example, how do religious leaders in the US respond to US domestic policy against immigrants, racism, or any alienating of certain populations? What do the religious elite have to say about this? And finally, is there a joint platform where religious leaders are able to discuss policies? To conclude the meeting, he recommended that I read three books revolving around the topic of religion and conflict.

Moving forward with this topic, I plan on reading the books Professor Mohammed Abu-Nimer recommended. I plan to use these books as a guide to gain a better perspective of religion and conflict and see possible research question routes. I plan to  choose a region of the world to study and learn more about specific cases in those regions.