September 29, 2010

Call For Papers: Reframing Knowledge Production on 1970s Uganda*

Edgar Curtis Taylor

*CFP: Reframing Knowledge Production on 1970s Uganda*
February 5, 2011; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Hosted by the African History and Anthropology Workshop

Scholars of Africa regularly cast Uganda in the 1970s as a
transitional period in the country's history as well as a symbol of
Africa's postcolonial ruination and failed struggle for cultural and
economic independence. Transnational mythologies of Idi Amin in film,
music, and literature have produced a rich, if highly questionable,
body of knowledge on his rule. However, the 1970s have produced
remarkably little scholarly consensus. Scholars struggle to move
beyond worn-out chronologies and seemingly contradictory
generalizations of social fragmentation, state collapse, and economic
decline alongside cultural self-assertion, national pride, and
economic empowerment. This state of affairs can be partly attributed
to the assumed dearth of written sources for this period (though the
recent openings of personal and government records in Uganda and Great
Britain are exciting developments). It may also be related to
scholars' difficulty reckoning with the ideological potency of the
1970s in contemporary political discourse, as activists of all sorts
seek to draw contrasts or parallels between their situation and a
constructed past.

However, Ugandans had remarkably diverse experiences in and of the
1970s that they have documented, commemorated, and remembered in
different ways. Recent work has shown that the 1970s saw novel
opportunities for Ugandans to re-imagine gender relations, conjure
political constituencies, develop trading networks, and reframe racial
knowledge. These works have equally shown the challenges Ugandans
faced toward such ends as well as the violence that characterized so
many spheres of social life during these years. Likewise, Ugandans
have constructed the 1970s as an object of knowledge through a
multiplicity of forms that contribute to an array of competing
historical projects.

This conference will consider creative work Ugandans have pursued in
and on the 1970s. We welcome papers from faculty and graduate
students that examine issues pertinent to this important period,
including those that may not be strictly bounded temporally or
geographically to 1970s Uganda but that consider how we have come to
know about this decade. Scholars from all disciplines and those
working across disciplinary boundaries are encouraged to apply.

Please submit a one page abstract by November 8th to
. (Include your name, email, and institutional
affiliation). We may have funds available to assist graduate student
presenters with travel expenses. Please indicate whether you would
like to be considered for travel assistance.


Anonymous,  November 8, 2010 at 6:52 PM  

The deadline has been extended to November 29th. Thank you for posting this!
-Edgar Taylor
University of Michigan

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