Ayoub is a junior at USC majoring in Law, History and Culture and minoring in Middle East Studies. During her month-long fellowship, Ayoub watched dozens of testimonies about the Rwandan Genocide and supplemented her viewing with texts about nationalism in order to contextualize the stories the survivors tell in their testimonies.
Ayoub’s research project focused on the political identities of the Tutsis and the Hutus and the ways they changed over time. She examined what needs to happen politically to incite people to violence, including the normalization and legitimization of violence in public discourse, and the relationship between a nation-state project and political violence. Watching testimonies of survivors in the Visual History Archive helps Ayoub get to know the real people who were affected by anti-Tutsi rhetoric. The archive is a “collective memory,” she said, where survivors can corroborate their stories and offer anecdotal evidence that these crimes occurred.