Published in Macalester Today
On her way to becoming a French teacher, Hannah Warman ’13 (Vancouver, Wash.) has twice visited Africa.
Her first journey to that continent came in a fairly typical way for a Macalester student: She spent fall semester last year in Cameroon on a social pluralism and development study abroad program.
But when she returned to Africa in July, it was to devote six weeks to working alongside French professor Jean Pierre Karegeye, researching representations of women in post-genocide literature. Although Warman spent a good deal of her time reading and taking notes from books, she had more than a few memorable Rwandan experiences outside the library walls.
First, to get a context for their work, Warman and Karegeye traveled around the country, visiting genocide sites and meeting survivors. Warman also met with several women’s organizations in the capital city of Kigali, interviewing their leaders to better understand the situation of women in post-genocide Rwanda. “It was amazing,” says the French and educational studies major. “I learned so much but there is so much more to know. It’s a very interesting and complicated region.”
Meeting author Yolanda Mukagasana, a genocide survivor and memoirist, was a highlight of her trip, says Warman. Another unforgettable experience was taking part in a genocide denial conference, where Warman translated and assisted Karegeye, who spoke at the conference.
The summer research in Rwanda, enriching as it was, wasn’t the first time Warman had collaborated with Karegeye, however. A paper she wrote for his class on child soldiers was recently published in Peace Review, a social justice journal put out by the University of San Francisco. Her topic: The ways in which comic strips and French graphic novels, called bande dessinée, treat serious subjects such as child soldiers. “It was unexpected to get a journal article published as an undergraduate,” she says.
As her time at Mac draws to a close, Warman is quite pleased at having had the chance to collaborate with a faculty member while in college. “I knew it was possible to work with professors, but I thought an opportunity like that would take more seeking out on my part,” she says. “Professor Karegeye has been great, passing along translation jobs and helping me secure the faculty/student research grant that allowed me to travel to Rwanda. I’m so thankful for the experience.”