State of Rebellion: Violence and Intervention in the Central African Republic

Louisa Lombard, Yale University
Thursday, October 12, 2017 -
4:30pm to 6:00pm
144 Louis A. Simpson International Building
Thursday, October 12, 2017 -
4:30pm to 6:00pm

In 2013, the Central African Republic (CAR) was engulfed by violence. In the face of the rapid spread of the conflict, journalists, politicians, and academics alike have struggled to account for its origins and tenacity. Explanations offered have tended to be superficial, attributing the violence to a religious divide or politicians’ manipulations, or profiteering. I show instead how violence has long been useful to (if also lamented) as an element of Central African politics, a tendency that has been exacerbated by internationally-led methods of engagement with so-called fragile states. In this talk, I speak both to the particularities of this case and its implications for methods in contemporary conflict ethnography more broadly.

Louisa Lombard is an assistant professor of anthropology at Yale University. Her research, primarily sited in remote reaches of Central Africa, asks several questions. How are “stateless” arenas constituted, both now and historically? How should we understand people's quests for privilege, entitlement, rights, and responsibilities when authority is plural and overlapping? When and why do people use violence and/or collaborate? She is currently researching peacekeeping ethics, that is, how peacekeepers charged with implementing a protection agenda develop moral compasses for this work. She is the author of State of Rebellion: Violence and Intervention in the Central African Republic (Zed/Chicago 2016) and Hunting Game: Politics in the Central African Interior (under review with Cambridge University Press), as well as a number of articles on rebellion, armed conservation, and international peacebuilding.

Sponsored by
The Program in African Studies