By Dara Vance
The Committee on Social Theory at The University of Kentucky is hosting Professor Mahmood Mamdani as its Fall Distinguished Speaker. On October 2, Dr. Mamdani will give a talk entitled “Political Violence and Political Justice: A Critique of Criminal Justice as Accountability.” The talk will take place at 3:30 pm in the W.T. Young Library Auditorium.
Dr. Mamdani is a Professor of Anthropology, Political Science and African Studies at Columbia University. He is also the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government at Columbia University’s School of Internal Affairs. Additionally, he is the Director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research in Kampala, Uganda.
A native of Uganda, Dr. Mamdani was awarded one of 26 scholarships to study in the United States when Uganda won its independence. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, Mamdani joined the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He earned a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1972. While conducting dissertation research in Uganda he was expelled by Idi Amin. After the overthrow of Amin, Mamdani returned to Uganda, but his citizenship was eventually revoked as a result of his scholarship’s criticism of the government. During his career Mamdani has been visiting professor at the University of Michigan, University of Durban-Westville, the Nuhru Memorial Museum and Library, and Princeton University. He was also the inaugural chair of African studies at the University of Cape Town.
Professor Mamdani’s current work explores the intersection between politics and culture, a comparative study of colonialism since 1452, the history of civil war and genocide in Africa, the Cold War and the War on Terror, and the history and theory of human rights. His most recent book, Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror (2009), investigates how conflict in Darfur began as a civil war and transformed into a War on Terror.