Author Archives: Eleni Coundouriotis

About Eleni Coundouriotis

Associate professor of English and an affiliate of the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut. Her first book, Claiming History: Colonialism, Ethnography and the Novel (Columbia, 1999) examines the emergence of the African novel in the context of ethnographic discourse and with attention to the novel’s historiographic function. Her current project is a literary history of the war novel in Africa, entitled The People’s Right to the Novel: War Fiction in the Postcolony.

Congo Cases: The Stories of Human Rights History

Coundouriotis proposes that human rights history, which uses the frame of crimes against humanity, is shaped by stories of reading in which the author takes evidence previously ignored or misconstrued and uses it to renarrativize the events, providing a new story with a moral center inflected by human rights. This insight is applied to analyze the recurring motif of the “heart of darkness” in the literature about the Congo. The moral crusade, the redeemer witness and the democratizing movement represent three types of human rights history that attempts to write past this motif.