The Politics of Belonging and a Contest for Survival: Rethinking the Conflict: I would like to demonstrate that the conflict in North and South Kivu is better thought of as two conflicts that became intertwined over a period of time. The first is a much older conflict which started during colonialism, which is about a struggle for belonging. This politics of belonging is violent and was created by a historical migration and immigration of Rwandophones into the Eastern DRC. The second conflict is relatively newer and it is a regional contest for survival between the Hutu and Tutsi elites. This dissertation seeks to investigate whether this conflation obscures our understanding of how we think the conflict.