Historical Consciousness and the Making of Custom in Colonial Buganda, 1878-1935


ACLS Fellowship Program


This project addresses the transformation of Ganda historical consciousness and cultural self-conception in the early colonial period. It traces the adoption of a linear conception of `progress' by the first generation of Ganda Christian converts around 1900 and their subsequent shift to a selective rehabilitation of Ganda `custom'. Research will concern the influence of missionaries and colonizers, the sense of moral crisis that motivated the rehabilitation of custom, and changes undergone by prominent 'customary' practices and institutions. Funds will also support manuscript preparation. The project contributes to ongoing anthropological and historiographic debates about cultural dynamism, modernist forms of temporal consciousness, and the `invention of tradition.'