Project

The Infrastructure of Dissent in Postcolonial Uganda

Program

ACLS Fellowship Program

Abstract

This project traces the genealogy of populist activism in postcolonial Uganda. In the 1950s decolonization led minorities to organize to defend their cultural heritage from the enfolding weight of African majority government. In the late 1960s and 1970s these campaigners were made enemies of the state, and populists had to find new registers in which to work. Some became museum curators, collecting objects that anchored people to their past. Others became subversives, organizing oppositional movements that challenged the integrity of the Ugandan state. These campaigners built upon an infrastructure that minorities had authored in an earlier time. Their activism helps to illuminate the logic of dissent under the dictatorship of Idi Amin.