The Dynamics of Violence in Central Africa

By René Lemarchand | Go to book overview

Acknowledgments

My immediate purpose in putting together this volume is to make readily accessible to interested scholars a selection of my recent (and not so recent) writing on former Belgian Africa. Although most of these appeared in professional journals and edited volumes, none was a source of high visibility. The themes explored in this book have incubated in a wonderfully stimulating and diverse academic environment. Following my long-awaited retirement from the University of Florida, and from the time I left USAID in 1998, after four years in Abidjan and two in Accra as Regional Advisor for Democracy and Governance, I had the opportunity to serve as visiting lecturer at Berkeley, Smith College, Concordia (Montreal), and Brown and subsequently at the universities of Bordeaux, Antwerp, Copenhagen, and Helsinki. My post-retirement gypsyscholar career has given me plenty of occasions to bounce ideas off an array of students, colleagues, and USAID officials, who to one degree or another shared my interest in the tragic destinies of the Great Lakes region of Central Africa. Their contributions are reflected in many of the essays in this volume.

I have many people to thank, first and foremost, the students in my graduate seminars at the universities of California at Berkeley, Antwerp, and Copenhagen. Many have gently provoked me into rethinking some of the ideas developed in this book. I owe a special debt to Filip Reyntjens, my long-time friend and colleague at the University of Antwerp, whose knowledge of the politics of the Great Lakes is unsurpassed, and to Holger Hansen, Chair of the African Studies Center at the University of Copenhagen, for repeatedly inviting me to teach and lecture on Central Africa. My long-time friend and colleague Frank Chalk deserves equal thanks for iniviting me to teach at Concordia University (Montreal) in the fall of 2000. Special mention is owed to Danielle De Lame, for sharing with me her wide-ranging expertise on Rwanda, and to David and Catharine Newbury for keeping me abreast of their pioneering work

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