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Accepted Paper:

Rwandan visionaries of the Virgin Mary: 'competing discourses' and transnationalization  
Emilie Brebant (ULB (Université Libre de Bruxelles))

Paper long abstract:

In 2001, apparitions of the Virgin Mary to three students in southern Rwanda were officially approved by the catholic church, while withholding such recognition from others with similar claims. Since then, new alleged visionaries kept on emerging among former refugees, genocide survivors, or prisoners. The idea that horrific visions described by the seers in 1982 announced the violent events of the nineties is now widely accepted. However, these narratives that promote peace and reconciliation both at an institutional and a popular level proceed from a rereading of the phenomenon's early history, then much more related to the moral implications of Rwanda's continuing modernization. Based on a bi-sited fieldwork in Rwanda and in Brussels, this paper proposes to discuss how imported religious concepts can be locally worked on, integrating nationalist imaginaries and achieving transnationalization through flows of media and migration.

Panel W032
Ethnographies of Catholicism
  Session 1