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Jennie E. Burnet

Associate Professor    Associate Director, GSI    ,

Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2005
M.A. in Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1998
B.A. in French and Comparative Literature, Boston University, Summa cum laude, 1994


Jennie E. Burnet is an associate professor in the Global Studies Institute at Georgia State University. In 2019, she was a J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Fellow in the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. Before joining Georgia State University, she was an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Louisville in Kentucky (USA).

Her work explores the social, cultural and psychological aspects of war, genocide, and mass violence and the micro-level impact of large-scale social change in the context of conflict. The majority of her research has focused on changing gender roles, the politics of memory, and local coping mechanisms in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda. She is currently conducting research on (1) organized resistance, rescuer behavior, and rescuers during in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda; (2) the long-term cultural, social, and psychological consequences of gender-based violence during conflict on women’s agency; and (3) women’s social movements and women’s roles in democratization, conflict resolution, and peace building. She is currently writing a book, To Save Heaven and Earth: Rescue in the Rwandan Genocide.

Her book, Genocide Lives in Us: Women, Memory & Silence in Rwanda, published in 2012 by the University of Wisconsin Press won the 2013 Elliot Skinner Award from the Association for Africanist Anthropology. Her research has appeared in Politics & Gender, African Affairs, and African Studies Review. She teaches courses in peace and conflict studies, development and refugee studies, anthropology, ethnographic and qualitative research methods, and African politics and culture. She is currently the principal investigator on a senior research grant, “Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors in Rescuer Behavior,” from the National Science Foundation Cultural Anthropology Program.

From 1995-1999, she served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International, USA, where she held the position of Vice Chairperson, chaired the administration and development committee, and participated as a delegate at the International Council Meeting in Troia, Portugal in 1999. She has testified as an expert witness in asylum hearings before the Immigration, Customs, and Enforcement Bureau of the Department of Homeland Security and before U.S. immigration courts. She has conducted public policy research, cultural diversity and gender audits, and program evaluations for CARE-International, Africare, the North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation, and others



Burnet, Jennie E.  (2012). Genocide Lives in Us: Women, Memory and Silence in Rwanda. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press.

  • Winner, 2013 Elliot Skinner Award, Association of Africanist Anthropology
  • Honorable Mention, 2013 Melville J. Herskovits, African Studies Association
  • Honorable Mention, 2015 Aidoo-Snyder Book Award, Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association

Selected Journal Articles

Bauer, Gretchen and Jennie E. Burnet (2013). “Gender Quotas, Democracy and Women’s Representation in Africa: Some Insights from Democratic Botswana and Autocratic Rwanda.” Women’s Studies International Forum 41(2):103-112.

Burnet, Jennie E. (2012). “Situating Sexual Violence in Rwanda (1990–2001): Sexual Agency, Sexual Consent, and the Political Economy of War.” African Studies Review 55(2):97-118.

Burnet, Jennie E. 2011. “Women Have Found Respect: Gender Quotas, Symbolic Representation and Female Empowerment in Rwanda.” Politics & Gender, 7(3):303-334.

Burnet, Jennie E. 2008. “Gender Balance and the Meanings of Women in Governance in Post-Genocide Rwanda.” African Affairs, 107(428):361-386.


Selected Book Chapters

Burnet, Jennie E. 2019. “Establishing a strong political commitment to gender equity: The politics of Rwanda’s law on the Prevention and Punishment of Gender-Based Violence (2008).” In Negotiating Gender Equity in the Global South: The Politics of Domestic Violence Policy, edited by Sohela Nazneen, Sam Hickey, Eleni Sifaki, 88-107. London: Routledge.

Burnet, Jennie E. 2018. “Women’s Political Representation in Rwanda.” In Global Handbook of Women’s Political Rights, edited by Susan Franceschet, Mona Lena Krook, and Netina Tan, 563-576. London: Palgrave.

Burnet, Jennie E. 2018. “Accountability for Mass Death, Acts of Rescue and Silence in Rwanda.” A Companion to the Anthropology of Death edited by Antonius C.G.M. Robben, Chapter 15. New York: Wiley.

Burnet, Jennie E. (2015). “Rape as a Weapon of Genocide: Gender, Patriarchy, and Sexual Violence in Rwanda.” In Amy E. Randall (Ed.) Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century: A Comparative Survey. Pp. 140-161. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Burnet, Jennie E. (2015). “Genocide, Evil and Human Agency: The Concept of Evil in Rwandan Explanations of the 1994 Genocide.” In William Olsen (Ed.) Evil in Africa. Pp. 75-90. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.

Burnet, Jennie E. (2015).  “Sorting and Suffering: Social Classification in Post-Genocide Rwanda.” In Jan Shetler (Ed.) Gendering Ethnicity in African Women’s Lives. Pp. 206-230. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press.

Burnet, Jennie E. (2014). “Sexual Violence, Female Agencies, and Sexual Consent: Complexities of Sexual Violence in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.” In Doris Buss, Joanne Lebert, Blair Rutherford, Donna Sharkey, & Obijiofor Aginam (Eds). Sexual Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies. Pp. 131-144. New York: Routledge.