Employing macro-comparative and intensive case study strategies, the proposed project investigates the causes of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The project develops a multi-layered hypothesis to explain the Rwandan genocide and argues that this hypothesis is applicable to other cases of genocide. The explanation focuses on three main variables: a cluster of participatory institutions, an ideology of threatened organic nationalism, and war. The proposed research will gather evidence in Rwanda and its former colonial ruler, Belgium, to support and test the hypothesis. The theoretical framework synthesizes and will contribute to theories of ethnicity, nationalism, violence, genocide, and historical institutionalism. The project emerges from more than two years of fieldwork in Africa, a research trip to Rwanda, and extensive reading in French and English.