Stefanie Bognitz

Stefanie BognitzNetwork Member

Stefanie Bognitz completed her dissertation on the “The Promise of Access to Justice in Rwanda” in which she lays out love and justice, critique and mistrust as distinctive regimes of action for ordinary actors implicated in everyday legal institutions, legal aid and mediation. In dwelling on the analytical concept of promise and its interrelated pragmatic action, such as disputing, lawmaking, compromising and agreeing, Stefanie develops an argument deeply grounded in the everyday of ordinary Rwandans living in a country of extraordinary afterlives of genocide. Her research areas are the Great Lakes Region and in specific Rwanda. Her areas of interest include legal and political anthropology, legal aid, traveling law, mediation, pragmatic theory, anthropology and/of ethics, engaged and public anthropology. Since 2018 Stefanie is a faculty member at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Halle and works on the intersection of anthropology and practice together with partners in Halle (Germany) and Kigali (Rwanda). Her current research interest develops epistemological perspectives on critique and denial in the continuum of ordinary life and everyday living in postcolonial and post-genocide trajectories in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

Current position
Independent Researcher


An Anthropological Inquiry into Denial

This project seeks out un/official modes of denial in public spheres of discourse and engagement. Herein, denial makes possible to test out analytical capacities of everyday observations such as silencing, ignoring or refuting critical information, modes of knowing or truths to maintain, ways of being and modes of existence and convictions of the self in the world that are easier to sustain and comfortably situated in a presence that is worth being defended. I argue that denial is a mode of relating to the world, bringing forth meaning and modes of knowing about it.


Previous research: The Promise of Access to Justice in Rwanda


  • Bognitz, Stefanie (2020) "Mediation in Circumstances of the Existential: Dispute and Justice in Rwanda." in On Mediation: Historical, Legal, Anthropological and International Perspectives , edited by Karl Härter, Carolin Hillemanns and Günther Schlee, 146-178. New York and Oxford: Berghahn. →
  • Bognitz, Stefanie (2020) "The Legal Laboratory in Rwanda: Experimentalization and Adaptation." in Normative Spaces and Legal Dynamics in Africa , edited by Katrin Seidel and Hatem Elliesie, 189-204. London and New York: Routledge. →
  • Bognitz, Stefanie (2017) "Mistrusting as mode of engagement in mediation: Insights from a socio-legal practice in Rwanda." in Mistrust: Ethnographic Approximations , edited by Florian Mühlfried. Bielefeld: transcript.
  • Bognitz, Stefanie (2017) "Trusting mediators: On becoming inyangamugayo in Rwanda." in POLITIKA.
  • Bognitz, Stefanie (2016) "Technologien der Zukunft: Einblicke in Strategien der Aneignung neuer Technologien in Ruanda." in Ruanda Revue 1/2016: 18-20. →
  • Bognitz, Stefanie (2015) "Rwanda." in The SAGE encyclopedia of world poverty, 2nd ed. , edited by Mehmet Odekon. Los Angeles: SAGE.
  • Bognitz, Stefanie (2015) "Lawyers without borders." in The SAGE encyclopedia of world poverty, 2nd ed. , edited by Mehmet Odekon. Los Angeles: SAGE.
  • Bognitz, Stefanie (2013) "Crafting transitional justice: Significations of rights-based organizations and legal aid in Rwanda." in Nouvelles études pénales 24: 269-83.