African Cultural Studies

College of Letters & Science
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Get to Know Us Better

Doctoral student Kathryn Mara conducted these interviews with our faculty and staff to get to know them better, and to let our prospective students know us better, too.

Interviews

About the interviewer

Kathryn MaraKathryn Mara is interested in language, cultural practices, and representations of violence, particularly in an east-/central-African context. Her dissertation, “Memory Abroad: Narrative and Discursive Practices Surrounding the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi,” is an interdisciplinary study of the social context of genocide representations, that is, how people talk about it. Through a focus on language and commemoration, she examines narrative practices, attitudes, and processes of socialization among Rwandans outside of Rwanda. She approaches this topic through ethnographic work and critical discourse analysis, employing Jan Blommaert and Dong Jie’s (2011) notion of discourse as “language-in-society.” Thus, she interprets discourse as deeply situated in a “web of relations of power, a dynamics of availability and accessibility, a situatedness of single acts vis-à-vis larger and historical patterns such as genres and traditions.”