Narelle Fletcher is Coordinator and Lecturer in Genocide Studies. Her research focusses on the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and more particularly on the language used to talk about those events in the three official languages of Rwanda: English, French and Kinyarwanda. Narelle also teaches in the French Language and Culture programme, specialising in the higher level subject Francophone Identities in Conflict.
Narelle studied at the University of Poitiers in France, where she completed her teacher training, and she also worked in Switzerland for several years. After returning to Australia, she taught at the University of New South Wales’ Institute of Languages, and at the University of Western Sydney.
Narelle is also a professional NAATI-accredited French-English translator with extensive experience in legal and technical translation.
Member of the Rwandan Association of University Women (RAUW)
The 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, more specifically:
- the terminology used to speak of the genocide in English, French and Kinyarwanda
- translating and interpreting at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)
- memorialisation and commemoration
Francophone Identities in Conflict
Otsuji, E, Gavran, M, Groeneveld, S, Andersen, M, Jeffreys, E, Goodman, DSG, Vanni Accarigi, I, Maggiora de Iturralde, P, Fletcher, N, Sharp, L, Sheldon, M, Browitt, J, Donald, S, Harbon, L, Mikula, M, Giovanangeli, A, Loda, A, Allatson, P, Hurley, A, Barclay, K, Robert, J, Rodriguez, M, Leigh, B, McCormack, J, Manganas, N, Wyndham, M & Aponte Ortiz, L 2019, Geographies of Food: The BA International Studies 25th Anniversary Cookbook, ed. Paul Allatson, Angela Giovanangeli and Emi Otsuji., 1st, School of International Studies and Education, FASS, UTS, Sydney.
Fletcher, N 2016, '"A Genocide of Little Importance": The Impact of the Terminology Used by Members of the French Government on the Representation of the 1994 Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda'', Essays in French Literature and Culture, vol. 53, no. November 2016, pp. 151-167.
In May 1994 France distinguished itself from other more reticent
members of the international community by being the first country
to explicitly identify the events occurring in Rwanda as a ‘genocide’.
The present article elucidates the impact of the very particular ways
in which key French government figures used the term ‘genocide’
to describe the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda both during and after the
events of 1994.
Fletcher, N 2014, 'Words That Can Kill: The Mugesera Speech and the 1994 Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda', PORTAL : Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 1-15.View/Download from: Publisher's site
One of the most significant extant documents attesting to the dissemination of genocide ideology in Rwanda in the early 1990s is the speech delivered on 22 November 1992 by the political figure Léon Mugesera, a member of the incumbent MRND party. It is particularly significant because it constitutes the earliest example of explicit genocidal discourse expressed by a member of the ruling political party in a public forum, and as such it has often been regarded as offering a ‘blueprint’ for the practical implementation of the genocide. In addition, the contents of the speech have been the subject of intense scrutiny and heated debate within the framework of a judicial process in Canada spanning more than a decade to determine whether Mugesera should be deported to Rwanda to face prosecution for genocide.
The original speech was delivered in Kinyarwanda, the national language of Rwanda, which effectively meant it was largely inaccessible to foreign commentators until it was translated into French and English. This article examines key thematic, lexical and stylistic elements within the original speech as it was heard by its target audience, as well as fundamental issues raised by the Canadian hearings relating to the translation process such as accuracy, fidelity, impartiality and subjectivity which were crucial elements in the decision-making process which finally led to Mugesera being deported to Rwanda on 23 January 2012.
Fletcher, N 2013, '(Re)Telling the story of the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda: Une Saison de machettes (Machete Season) by Jean Hatzfeld' in Shaw, J, Kelly, P & Semler, L (eds), Storytelling: Critical and Creative Approaches, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 66-79.
This is a stock formula used in Rwanda at the beginning of a story to attract the listener’s attention. Rwandans have a strong oral tradition of storytelling, but the story of the genocide has not been an easy one to tell. Seventeen years after the horrific events of 1994, the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR) continues to hear testimonies and try cases, and it has taken time for Rwandans to find a voice to tell their stories directly to the general public in written or filmed personal accounts, poems, plays and novels. The majority of these are expressed in either Kinyarwanda, the national language of Rwanda, or in French, with only a few being published so far in English
Fletcher, N 2011, 'The role of euphemisation in interpreting the testimonies of the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda' in Arnall, A & Ozolins, U (eds), Proceedings of the "Synergise!" Biennial National Conference of the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators : AUSIT 2010, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 212-225.
Since the beginning of last year I have been conducting research into the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda. As a professional French-English translator as well as an academic, my particular interest lies in how the genocide has been ‘translated’ for the rest of the world. By ‘translation’ I mean firstly of course on a linguistic level: how verbal testimonies and documents have been interpreted and translated from the national language Kinyarwanda into primarily French and English. But on a broader conceptual level I am also interested in how the events of the genocide have been represented and interpreted, in the most general sense of that term, outside of Rwanda.
Today I will be examining some very specific questions in a very specific context: firstly, when genocide survivors tell their story, how do they put into words the experiences they have been through, when these events truly deserve to be called ‘unspeakable’. Secondly, how do interpreters render this information into the target language, and what are the particular challenges they face?
Fletcher, N 2018, 'The Curious Case of Georges Ruggiu and the Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM): broadcasting the intent to destroy', Words that Kill, The American University of Paris.
Fletcher, N 2017, 'The pursuit of truth and its impact on the representation of the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda', Australian Society for French Studies, Canberra.
Fletcher, N 2013, 'My neighbour, my killer: the impact of distance and proximity on the discourse of survivors of the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda', Australian Society for French Studies, Brisbane.
Fletcher, N 2011, 'From fact to fiction: translating the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda', Australian Association for Literature, Melbourne.
Fletcher, N 2011, 'Rwanda 1994: les mots pour le dire', Australian Society for French Studies, Canberra.
Fletcher, N 2011, 'Unspeakable testimonies'.