Research Profile

Caroline Williamson Sinalo

Biography

Dr Caroline Williamson Sinalo came to University College Cork as a Lecturer in World Languages in February 2015. Before joining UCC, she was a Teaching Associate at the University of Nottingham where she also obtained her PhD in French and Francophone Studies. As part of her doctoral training, she spent one year working in Rwanda for the Aegis Trust, a charity that campaigns against genocide and runs the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. Dr Williamson Sinalo has a BSc in Psychology from the University of Manchester and spent a year at the Institut de Psychologie de l'Université de Paris. Before becoming an academic, she worked for the FIFA Ticketing Office and was involved in organizing the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. 

Research Interests

My research focuses on the Great Lakes region of Africa and covers a diverse range of topics and themes including: testimony and trauma; parenting, disclosure and intergenerational transmission of memory; narrative, voice and translation; media studies and representational ethics; and gender issues. Over the years, I have developed close collaborations with non-academic partners including anti-genocide charity, the Aegis Trust, and the Kigali-based Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP).  

My first book, Rwanda after Genocide: Gender, Identity and Posttraumatic Growth (Cambridge, 2018), collates my doctoral work on posttraumatic growth in Rwandan women with an Aegis Trust-funded project on Rwandan men. Through analysing their testimonies, the book explores the ways in which Rwandans have rebuilt their lives, paying particular attention to the relationship between posttraumatic growth and gender and examining it within the wider frames of colonialism and traditional cultural practices.
In addition to the book, this project on posttraumatic growth in Rwandan testimonies resulted in the publication of 7 journal articles, a book chapter and 17 conference presentations.
 

In 2016, I was approached by Claver Irakoze, a Rwandan genocide survivor and education activist, to co-author his testimony with a focus on parenting after genocide. That project has resulted in the publication of Transmitting Memories in Rwanda: From a Survivor Parent to the Next Generation (Brill Press, 2022). This book recounts the personal life story of Claver Irakoze who survived the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi as a child. Now a parent of young children, the narrative focuses on issues surrounding childhood, parenting and the transmission of memories between generations. As part of our groundwork for the book, in 2017, Irakoze and I were awarded funding by the Aegis Trust to conduct a survey of over 300 Rwandan parents to investigate disclosure practices surrounding genocide experiences in families. On the basis of the survey, we published a research paper (co-authored with Irakoze and Angela Veale, UCC) and a policy brief, both of which will also be available on the Aegis Trust’s Genocide Research Hub. This project produced 9 conference presentations, including one organised stream at the ASAUK biennial conference and a keynote paper at Webster University. Irakoze and I will also be launching Transmitting Memories in Rwanda (out in November 2022), at the Kigali Genocide Memorial for the 2023 national Rwandan commemoration event, Kwibuka29.
 

Another strand of my research has emerged from my convenorship of the research cluster, Violence, Conflict and Gender in UCC’s Centre for Advanced Study in Languages and Cultures (CASiLaC). This cluster is a dedicated intellectual and creative space for critical reflection on the gendered construction of violence and conflict. It is attentive to cross-cultural thinking on the nature of violence and covers a range of time periods. Keeping our cluster members at the focus of our activities, our recent work has centred around 4 key priority areas: global feminisms, supporting postgraduate researchers (PGRs), community engagement and internationalisation. As part of my role in the cluster, I mentored PhD student Nicoletta Mandolini in the Irish Research Council-funded project Representing Gender-Based Violence (2017) which produced an edited volume that is forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan (Representing Gender-Based Violence: Global Perspectives). More recently, I have been working with Dr Céire Broderick on our Global Feminisms seminar series.
   

My main current research interest, besides the cluster, is looking at knowledge production and policy impact in African conflicts, with a particular focus on media although I’m also interested in academic knowledge production. Groundwork for this includes an Irish Research Council New Foundations grant (2016), a Government of Ireland HEA Mobility fund (2019) and funding from Enterprise Ireland (2019), all of which have enabled me to develop ideas and build a network of experts in related fields. For example, with the support of the IRC New Foundations scheme, I organised an international conference on Activist Translation, where I was able to build a network around my ideas on narrative, translation and knowledge networks relating to African conflicts. In 2019, I hosted a roundtable event on the project in Rwanda as part of my GOI-funded mobility at the IRDP (2019), where I had the opportunity to draw on the expertise of leading regional experts. This mobility involved spending a month working at the IRDP which enabled me to build a professional collaboration with Dr Eric Ndushabandi, Director of the IRDP. In 2021, I organised a live panel show event in partnership with Dr Catherine Gilbert (University of Newcastle) and the Aegis Trust on
Recognising and Responding to Genocide Denial: The Case of Rwanda, which included a panel of international experts in civil society, the media, and academia. This event forms the basis for an edited volume with the same title (edited by myself, Catherine Gilbert and Paul Rukesha, Ministry of National Unity & Civic Engagement), which looks at patterns of denial in mainstream media and academic institutions. In addition to the ongoing edited volume, this project has produced 2 journal articles and 2 book chapters and I am working towards a monograph entitled Contemporary Great Lakes Media Narratives. Related to this project, I am supervising PhD student Louisa Esther Umugabo, whose Cusanuswerk-funded project investigates the concept of exile journalism in East Africa and Latin America.
 

Research Grants

 ProjectFunding
Body
Start DateEnd DateAward
Posttraumatic Growth in Rwandan Men’s TestimoniesOther: Not Listed01-OCT-1401-MAR-15
Knowledge Production and Implentation in African Conflict Zones.Enterprise Irl10-JUL-1910-APR-20€5,904.00
Developing A Funding Application for the Project: “Knowledge Production and Conflicts in Africa: Language, Translation and Context”Higher Education Authority17-MAR-1913-APR-19€7,540.00
Exploring disclosure practices among Rwandan parentsOther: Not Listed01-DEC-1730-SEP-18
Representing Gender Based Violence: Establishing an Interdisciplinary International NetworkIrish Research Council01-JAN-1701-AUG-17€4,880.00
"On Pandering" to a Western Readership.Irish Research Council01-MAR-1630-NOV-16€8,505.00
Posttraumatic identities: Developing a culturally informed understanding of posttraumatic growth in Rwandan women genocide survivorsArt & Humanities Research Council01-SEP-1007-JUL-14

Publications

Books

 YearPublication
(2022)Transmitting Memories in Rwanda: From a Survivor Parent to the Next Generation.
Claver Irakoze with Caroline Williamson Sinalo (2022) Transmitting Memories in Rwanda: From a Survivor Parent to the Next Generation. Leiden: Brill Press. [Details]
(2018)Rwanda After Genocide: Gender, Identity and Post-Traumatic Growth.
Caroline Williamson Sinalo (2018) Rwanda After Genocide: Gender, Identity and Post-Traumatic Growth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.   [Details]

Book Chapters

 YearPublication
(2022)'Introduction'
Nicoletta Mandolini and Caroline Williamson Sinalo (2022) 'Introduction' In: Representing Gender-Based Violence: Global Perspectives. London: Palgrave Macmillan. [Details]
(2022)'Media Representations of Burundi’s 2020 Elections in Belgium and Burundi'
Caroline Williamson Sinalo (2022) 'Media Representations of Burundi’s 2020 Elections in Belgium and Burundi' In: Pierre-Philippe Fraiture (eds). Unfinished Histories: Empire and Postcolonial Resonance in Central Africa and Belgium. Leiden: Leiden University Press. [Details]
(2022)'Do the Media Make Sexual Violence ‘Congolese’? Phallo- and Ethnocentrism in the International Coverage of Dr Mukwege’s Story'
Caroline Williamson Sinalo (2022) 'Do the Media Make Sexual Violence ‘Congolese’? Phallo- and Ethnocentrism in the International Coverage of Dr Mukwege’s Story' In: Representing Gender-Based Violence: Global Perspectives. London: Palgrave Macmillan. [Details]
(2022)'The Genocide Archive of Rwanda: Achievements and Challenges'
Caroline Williamson Sinalo and Claver Irakoze (2022) 'The Genocide Archive of Rwanda: Achievements and Challenges' In: Victoria Waldon (eds). The Memorial Museum in the Digital Age. Falmer: REFRAME. [Details]
(2019)'Decolonizing Trauma Therapy in Rwanda'
Caroline Williamson Sinalo (2019) 'Decolonizing Trauma Therapy in Rwanda' In: Hannah Grayson and Nicki Hitchcott (eds). Rwanda Since 1994: Stories of Change. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. [Details]

Edited Books

 YearPublication
(2022)Representing Gender-Based Violence: Global Perspectives
Caroline Williamson Sinalo and Nicoletta Mandolini (Ed.). (2022) Representing Gender-Based Violence: Global Perspectives London: Palgrave Macmillan. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

 YearPublication
(2021)'Un génocide dé-genré? Une analyse sexospécifique du rapport Duclert'
Caroline Williamson Sinalo (2021) 'Un génocide dé-genré? Une analyse sexospécifique du rapport Duclert'. Revue d’Histoire Contemporaine de l’Afrique, :41-51   [DOI] [Details]
(2020)'Disclosure of Genocide Experiences in Rwandan Families: Private and Public Sources of Information and Child Outcomes'
Caroline Williamson Sinalo, Pierre Claver Irakoze and Angela Veale (2020) 'Disclosure of Genocide Experiences in Rwandan Families: Private and Public Sources of Information and Child Outcomes'. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology,   [DOI] [Details]
(2020)'Narrating African conflict news: An intercultural analysis of Burundi’s 2015 coup'
Caroline Williamson Sinalo (2020) 'Narrating African conflict news: An intercultural analysis of Burundi’s 2015 coup'. Journalism,   [DOI] [Details]
(2016)'Genocide, masculinity and posttraumatic growth in Rwanda: reconstructing male identity through ndi umunyarwanda'
Caroline Williamson (2016) 'Genocide, masculinity and posttraumatic growth in Rwanda: reconstructing male identity through ndi umunyarwanda'. Journal of Genocide Research, 18 (1):41-59   [DOI] [Details]
(2016)'Post-traumatic growth at the international level: The obstructive role played by translators and editors of Rwandan Genocide testimonies'
Caroline Williamson (2016) 'Post-traumatic growth at the international level: The obstructive role played by translators and editors of Rwandan Genocide testimonies'. Translation Studies, 9 (1):33-50   [DOI] [Details]
(2014)'Posttraumatic growth and religion in Rwanda: individual well-being vs. collective false consciousness'
Caroline Williamson (2014) 'Posttraumatic growth and religion in Rwanda: individual well-being vs. collective false consciousness'. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 17 (9):946-955   [DOI] [Details]
(2014)'Towards a theory of collective posttraumatic growth in Rwanda: The pursuit of agency and communion'
Caroline Williamson (2014) 'Towards a theory of collective posttraumatic growth in Rwanda: The pursuit of agency and communion'. Traumatology, 20 (4):91-102   [DOI] [Details]
(2013)'Accessing Material from the Genocide Archive of Rwanda'
Caroline Williamson (2013) 'Accessing Material from the Genocide Archive of Rwanda'. African Research and Documentation, 120 :17-24   [Details]

Articles

 YearPublication
(2014)Breaking the silence: Rwandan women survivors give testimony and find a voice.
Caroline Williamson (2014) Breaking the silence: Rwandan women survivors give testimony and find a voice. Articles   [Details]

Newspaper Articles

 YearPublication
(2017)The portrayal of gender abuse is often misused in order to justify discriminatory and even racist speech.
Nicoletta Mandolini and Caroline Williamson (2017) The portrayal of gender abuse is often misused in order to justify discriminatory and even racist speech. Dublin: Newspaper Articles   [Details]

Professional Activities

Honours and Awards

 YearTitleAwarding Body
2013University of Nottingham Dean Moore Endowed Postgraduate Prize University of Nottingham

Committees

 CommitteeFunctionFrom / To
Centre for Global Development Steering group member2022 /
Centre for Advanced Studies in Languages and Cultures Board member2019 /
School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures Executive Committee Committee Member2019 / 2021

Languages

 LanguageReadingWritingSpeaking
Spanish FluentFluentFunctional
Kinyarwanda FunctionalFunctionalFunctional
Portuguese FluentFluentFluent
French FluentFluentFluent

Other Activities

 Description

The Violence, Conflict and Gender research cluster, based in the Centre for Advanced Studies in Languages and Cultures (CASiLaC) is a dedicated intellectual and creative space for critical reflection on the gendered construction of violence and conflict. It is attentive to cross-cultural thinking on the nature of violence and covers a range of time periods. Keeping our cluster members at the focus of our activities, our recent work has centred around 4 key priority areas: global feminisms, supporting postgraduate researchers (PGRs), community engagement and internationalisation.  

Global Feminisms
Our recent activities have focused on the theme of global feminisms, considering in particular decolonial feminist approaches, feminisms from the Global South, and intersectional approaches to feminist activities. Our aim is to both support and reflect the interdisciplinary research interests of our members who are all working on gender-related issues in diverse global contexts. In 2021-22, we have been running a ‘Global Feminisms’ seminar series in partnership with Dr Chiara Bonfiglioli, Women’s Studies, UCC.  

Postgraduate support
We have a growing PGR membership and place specific focus on their professional development in recent funding applications and event planning. In 2020/2021, we partnered with three PGRs to apply for CASiLaC funding to run a 3-day online conference, ‘Boundaries, Borders, Care: Feminist Ethics in Practice’, which facilitated conversations with academics, creative practitioners and activists working in the areas of their research. In our recent ‘Global Feminisms’ seminar series, we have also prioritised speakers related to topics researched by our PGR members and encourage them to participate in the organisation and chairing of these events.

Community engagement Given the nature of research in our cluster, community engagement in the form of collaborative activism has also been prioritised in recent years. Our ongoing collaborations with the Bystander Intervention Programme, Student Societies and other strategic units in the university have been fruitful in creating awareness of issues researched by our members. The multilingual flashmob organised among UCC students and staff in February 2020 criticised institutionalised impunity for gender-based violence and rejected victim-blaming narratives. Originally performed in Chile, we adopted it to include 13 of the languages spoken on our campus. We recently partnered with Bystander Intervention and the Sexual Violence Framework to organise ‘Cocoon Nights’, which facilitated an open mic platform for creative responses to femicide in Ireland.  

Internationalisation
Our research cluster is committed to internationalisation through a range of global partnerships. For example, we are currently hosting Visiting Erasmus Scholar and PhD student, Lisselot Martín Plaza from the University of Huelva (Spain). Lisselot’s research focuses on literary representations of the trans subject in anglophone literature, examining issues of self-perception, the gaze of others and the intersections of sex, gender, class and race. We also continue to collaborate with former cluster convener, Dr Nicoletta Mandolini, Minho University, on events and publications.

Teaching Activities

Teaching Interests

I contribute to a range of modules at all levels across the Department of French and the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. My two research-led modules in French are as follows:

FR2311  Africa: Colonialism to Continental Crisis: Through the study of a diverse range of texts, this second year module introduces students to the long-term consequences of European colonialism in Africa with a focus on the Great Lakes Crisis.

And   FR4311 Trauma and Narrative in the Francophone World: This final year module introduces students to theories of trauma from Freud to the present day. Through the study of a range of francophone texts about major traumatic events (slavery, WWII, the Rwanda genocide, terrorism etc.), students examine the strengths and weaknesses of different theories and consider the role of narrative in understanding atrocity. 

As Lecturer in World Languages, I am also involved at all levels of UCC's World Languages programme and teach the following modules: 

WL1103 Becoming Multilingual. This module
familiarizes students with the main theories, methods and practices of second-language acquisition in order to allow them to maximize their university study of languages.
  And   WL2102 Introduction to Semiotics. This module introduces students to the principles of semiotics through the study of the nature of systems of signs, both linguistic and non-linguistic.

At postgraduate level, I teach LL6024 Conflict, Memory and Nation Building. This module
 considers how conflict, memory and processes of nation building have shaped the Francophone world.

Research Information

External Collaborators

 NameOrganisation / InstituteCountry
Eric Ndushabandi Institute for Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP)RWANDA
Claver Hodali Irakoze The Aegis TrustRWANDA

Contact details

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Department of French

Room 1.22 Block A, First Floor, O'Rahilly Building, University College Cork

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