Research Tracks

A publication of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Baylor University

Scholars Week Preview: Baylor senior explores theatrical representation of Rwanda genocide


URSA Scholars Week is coming soon!  As our annual celebration of undergraduate scholarship draws closer, we’ll be highlighting a few of the outstanding research projects our students will be presenting.  Click here to visit the URSA website for a complete schedule and more information about the event.

Senior University Scholars major Jake Abell has always had an interest in theatre. While his current academic emphasis has shifted toward studying French, he continues to explore the way people from different cultures express themselves through creative narrative works.

While studying abroad in France, Abell became interested in French-speaking cultures in eastern Africa, which led him to pursue a research project on a theatrical responses to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

In collaboration with Dr. Holly Collins, an assistant professor in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages, Abell has undertaken an analysis of “Rwanda 94,” a multimedia theatrical presentation written and performed by native Rwandans in conjunction with French-speaking European artists. Abell and Collins are co-authoring an article on “Rwanda 94” which they will submit to a peer-reviewed journal.

While there have been a number of dramatic and narrative productions in response to the Rwanda genocide, Abell says that “Rwanda 94” is unique not only for the indigenous perspective of its authors, but also for the variety of forms used to present different viewpoints on atrocity. “The form of the play pushes the boundaries of theatre by including projected images, journalistic reports and poetic recitations,” says Abell. “My argument is that the play uses these forms to create a dramatic dialect representing the different motivations of Rwandan and outside observers of the genocide.”

Abell is just one of the students who will be presenting short lectures on their research at Scholars Week’s oral presentations on April 8 and 9 in the Bill Daniel Student Center.  Poster sessions will take place April 10 and 11 in the Baylor Science Building.  All URSA Scholars Week events are free and open to the public.

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