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Reid, Richard (2014) 'Ghosts in the Academy: historians and historical consciousness in the making of modern Uganda.' Comparative Studies in Society and History, 56 (2). pp. 351-380.

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The public and professional significance of precolonial History as a discipline has declined markedly across much of sub-Saharan Africa over the last forty years: History has been both demonized—depicted as deeply dangerous and the source of savagery and instability—and portrayed as irrelevant when set alongside the needs for economic modernization and “development.” This paper explores this trend in the context of Uganda, with a particular focus on the kingdom of Buganda, chosen for its particularly rich oral and literary heritage and the thematic opportunities offered by its complex and troubled twentieth century. The paper aims to explore how “the past”—with a focus on the precolonial era—has been understood there in several distinct periods. These include the era of imperial partition and the formation of the Uganda Protectorate between the 1880s and the 1910s; competition for political space within colonial society to the 1950s; decolonization and the struggle to create new nationhood in the mid-twentieth century; and political crises and partial recovery since the 1970s. Ultimately, the paper seeks to assess the role of History in a modern African society vis-à-vis the developmental agendas and notions of economic growth against which African “progress” and prospects for “stability” are currently measured.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of History
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of History
ISSN: 14752999
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2014 10:59

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