Snel naar: startpagina UAntwerpen

Filip Reyntjens

Gewoon hoogleraar

Foto ID

Over Filip Reyntjens

My involvement with Central Africa is the fruit of sheer coincidence. Just months after I started working as a research assistant at the Law School of the University of Antwerp in October 1975, I was asked to be part of a small (three expatriate staff) team that was running the project of a Law School at the National University of Rwanda in Butare which was sponsored by the University of Antwerp. Barely 24 years old, I arrived in Rwanda in July 1976. Little did I know that what was set out to be a two year stint (after which I'd return to more serious things) has lasted for ever since. There's a saying that "you are inoculated against all sorts of diseases, but not against Africa", and I have fallen prey to that illness.

Trained as a constitutional lawyer, I did continue to do research and publish in that field, but I increasingly tilted towards the study of politics. After all, constitutional law is about politics, and -particularly in the African context- in case of conflict between power and law, power tends to prevail. My doctoral dissertation studied that relationship in the case of Rwanda (Pouvoir et droit au Rwanda. Droit public et évolution politique, 1916-1973, defended in May 1983 and published as a book in 1985). Politics became even more important in 1990, when the Rwandan civil war started. In the meantime, I had also extended my interest to other parts of the great lakes region, particularly Burundi and eastern Zaire/DRC. Books like L'Afrique des grands lacs en crise (Paris, Karthala, 1994) and The Great African War. Congo and regional geopolitics, 1996-2006 (New York, Cambridge University Press, 2009) express that "territorial spread". Since 1997, I am one of the editors of a yearbook on the region: L'Afrique des grands lacs. Annuaire (Paris, L'Harmattan). It was only logical that, in 1991, I moved from the Law School to the College for Developing Countries, one of the predecessors of the Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB) which I helped to set up and chaired from 2001 to 2007. I'm now chair of its research commission.

Working on a region that has been the scene of extreme violence and human suffering for nearly a quarter of a century comes with a price. Coming from a human rights activist background (I have worked for many years as a volunteer for Amnesty International), I could not just observe and analyse. On a number of occasions, I have felt the need to be an "action-researcher", to take position, and even to attempt to have an impact on events. This has obviously brought about clashes with more than one political regime, particularly in Rwanda and Burundi. I describe this in a little book published in 2009: Les risques du métier. Trois décennies comme "chercheur-acteur" au Rwanda et au Burundi (Paris, L'Harmattan). Mass violence has also affected me personally, as I have lost many former students, colleagues, friends and acquaintances who fell victim to brutal violence.

Apart from my ongoing research on contemporary history (histoire immédiate) of the region (e.g. my latest book Political governance in post-genocide Rwanda, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2013), I also work on hybrid governance in the Congo borderlands, on the relationship between aid and authoritarianism in Sub-Sahara Africa, and on the quality of democracy in East Africa.

Statuut & functies

  • Emeritus occasionele opdracht

Publicaties in de kijker

Reyntjens Filip. Pouvoir et droit au Rwanda : droit public et évolution politique, 1916-1973
-Tervuren, Musée royal de l'Afrique centrale(1985),
Reyntjens Filip. Constructing the truth, dealing with dissent, domesticating the world : governance in post-genocide Rwanda
African affairs-issn 0001-9909-110(2011),p. 1-34
Reyntjens Filip. The great African war: Congo and regional geopolitics, 1996-2006
isbn 978-0-521-11128-7-New York, N.Y., Cambridge University Press(2009),
Reyntjens Filip. L'Afrique des grands lacs en crise: Rwanda, Burundi: 1988/1994
-Paris, Karthala(1994),
Reyntjens Filip. War in the Great Lakes region
Africa in world politics : engaging a changing world order / Harbeson, J.H. [edit.]; e.a.-isbn 9780813348452-Boulder, Colo., Westview Press(2013),
Reyntjens Filip. Rwanda: trois jours qui ont fait basculer l'histoire
Cahiers africains--Bruxelles, Institut Africain(1995),
Reyntjens Filip. La grande guerre Africaine : instabilité, violence et déclin de l'état en Afrique centrale (1996-2006)
Le bruit du monde-isbn 978-2-251-11002-8-Paris, Belles Lettres(2012),
Reyntjens Filip. The privatisation and criminalisation of public space in the geopolitics of the Great Lakes Region
Journal of modern African studies-issn 1469-7777-(2005),p. 587-607
Reyntjens Filip. Regulation, taxation and violence: the state, quasi-state governance and cross-border dynamics in the Great Lakes Region
Review of African political economy-issn 0305-6244-41(2014),p. 530-544
Reyntjens Filip. Rwanda : gouverner après le génocide
isbn 978-2-251-44492-5-Paris, Belles Lettres(2014),
Reyntjens Filip. Rwanda, ten years on: from genocide to dictatorship
African affairs-issn 0001-9909-103(2004),p. 177-210
Reyntjens Filip. Political governance in post-genocide Rwanda
isbn 978-1-107-04355-8-New York, N.Y., Cambridge University Press(2013),


Lange Sint-Annastraat 7
2000 Antwerpen
Tel. 032655772
Fax 032655771