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CentreTerm: Religion and Politics in Eastern Africa

Mar 2023 16

CentreTerm 2014
Our study abroad trip introduced students to several hundred years of religious and political history in eastern Africa. Through experiential learning, students engaged local histories and cultural complexities in the Great Lakes region. It began by studying the long history of the precolonial kingdom of Buganda, whose powerful chiefs largely controlled the processes of colonization in Uganda in the 1900s. Students feasted with Buganda’s Muslim Prince and participated in a ritual goat sacrifice. To contrast Buganda’s monarchical society, students then spent one week living with host families in the Atekok Itudai clan in Tesoland, whose societies are clan-based republics. Students cooked, fetched water, herded cattle, participated in traditional dancing and learned about local medicine. The class then shifted to Rwanda, where students studied the history of the 1994 genocide at sites of massacre, where over 800,000 Rwandans were killed in a period of approximately 100 days. Students also spent time with survivors, where they listened to both stories of horror and hope. For many, the trip was life changing. Two students from the trip will conduct internships in Uganda this summer (2014). And to commemorate the twentieth year anniversary of the genocide, students are currently organising a benefit concert on 25 April to raise $10,000 for widows and orphans. You can learn more about this benefit—twenty aprils—and make your tax-deductible gift on the students’ website: Follow at:

– Jonathan Earle, Assistant Professor of History


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