This study centers the voices, narratives and knowledge produced by Rwandan women. It draws upon ethnographic fieldwork conducted in 2014 with a rural women’s collective in the Southern Province of Rwanda. The women’s collective comprises women survivors and wives of perpetrators who came together to form an economic cooperative in the aftermath of the genocide. The cooperative is now regarded as one of the first reconciliation initiatives in the country. In this study, I argue that women in the collective draw upon an idealized idiom of marriage in order to provide social continuity in the wake of extreme social upheaval. In doing so, women fulfill their responsibilities as female-heads of households in the physical absence and narrative presence of husbands.



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