Lying at the center of a tumultuous region, the Central African Republic and its turbulent history have often been overlooked. Democracy, in any kind of a meaningful sense, has eluded the country. Since the mid-1990s, army mutinies and serial rebellion in CAR have resulted in two major successful coups. Over the course of these upheavals, the country has become a laboratory for peacebuilding initiatives, hosting a two-decade-long succession of UN and regional peacekeeping, peacebuilding and special political missions.

Tatiana Carayannis, the Social Science Research Council’s Director of the Understanding Violent Conflict Initiative (UVC) and Deputy Director of the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, and Yale University’s Associate Professor Louisa Lombard (as co-editors and chapter contributors) have brought together the foremost experts on the Central African Republic in Making Sense of the Central African Republic. This much-needed volume, published by Zed Books (US Distributor – University of Chicago Press), provides the first in-depth analysis of the country’s recent history of rebellion, instability, and international and regional intervention.

Making Sense of the Central African Republic was undertaken under the auspices of the SSRC’s Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, founded in 2000 in response to the Brahimi Report, to connect UN decision-makers with scholars on and from conflict areas in which the UN is engaged and thus provide the UN with a deeper understanding of these places and their people; and the Justice and Security Research Programme (JSRP), a global research consortium based at the London School of Economics and Political Science. SSRC also hosted a two-day book contributors’ meeting in June 2014 to give the authors a chance to offer ideas, reactions, and comments on the various chapters.

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Table of Contents

  1. Making Sense of CAR: An Introduction – Louisa Lombard and Tatiana Carayannis
  2. CAR’s History: The Past of a Tense Present – Stephen W. Smith
  3. Being Rich, Being Poor: Wealth and Fear in the Central African Republic – Roland Marchal
  4. Local Dynamics in the PK5 District of Bangui – Faouzi Kilembe
  5. The Elite’s Road to Riches in a Poor Country – Stephen W. Smith
  6. A Multifaceted Business: Diamonds in the Central African Republic – Ned Dalby
  7. The Autonomous Zone Conundrum: Armed Conservation and Rebellion in North-Eastern CAR – Louisa Lombard
  8. CAR and the Regional (Dis)order – Roland Marchal
  9. Pathologies of Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding in CAR – Nathaniel Olin
  10. 10. From Being Forgotten to Being Ignored: International Humanitarian Interventions in the Central African Republic – Enrica Picco
  11. CAR’s Southern Identity: Congo, CAR, and International Justice – Tatiana Carayannis
  12. In Unclaimed Land: The Lord’s Resistance Army in CAR – Ledio Cakaj
  13. A Central African Elite Perspective on the Struggles of the Central African Republic – Laurence D. Wohlers
  14. A Concluding Note on the Failure and Future of Peacebuilding in CAR – Tatiana Carayannis and Louisa Lombard

Publication Details

Making Sense of the Central African Republic
Carayannis, Tatiana, Lombard, Louisa
Zed Books
Publish Date
15 July 2015
Carayannis, Tatiana, Lombard, Louisa, Making Sense of the Central African Republic (Zed Books, 15 July 2015).