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The Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) is the former East African Institute of Social Research (EAISR), which was established in 1948. EAISR was one of the three institutes set up before and after the Second World War on the recommendation of the Colonial Social Science Research Council of London, England. The three institutes were Western Institute of Social and Economic Research (WISER), University College of West Indies, Jamaica; The West African Institute of Social and Economic Research (WAISER), University College of Ibadan, Nigeria and; The East African Institute of Social Research (EAISR) attached to Makerere University College, the then University College of East Africa. EAISR catered for the following countries in Eastern Africa: Kenya, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Somalia and the Sudan.
Another similar institute, the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute had already been set up before the second world war in Northern Rhodesia (Zambia).The institutions fulfilled the special function of developing social sciences research in the British colonial territories. They coordinated the planning of research on regional basis; organized comparative studies of particular problems within each region; undertook studies of practical interest to governments and business firms; tested out research techniques; provided teaching materials for the local Universities and; provided a center to which students from overseas were attached. EAISR’s work concentrated on research in anthropology, sociology, linguistic, economics and psychology. These were classified in the following categories: tribal studies, urban studies, comparative anthropological studies, linguistic studies, economic and economic history, psychology, demography and social statistics and inter-disciplinary studies. The institute provided a base for Social Science Research and an academic forum for debate and publication.
When most East African countries obtained independence in the 1960s, they created their own national universities to cater for their country's academic interests. In the process, they also created institutions similar to EAISR. Eventually, in 1970, when Makerere University became a national University, the former EAISR became Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) under the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Since its inception, MISR has had exceptional leadership, among whom were: W.H. Stanner as first Director, Audrey Richards, Tom Llyod Fallers, Aidan Southall, Dan Mudoola and Apolo Nsibambi.
The political and economic instability in Uganda which characterised the 1970’s and early 1980’s critically affected the Institute and its programmes. With the restoration of political and economic sobriety in the country by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Government in 1986, MISR started to recover from its oblivion. In the past twenty years, the goal of the Institute has been to re-establish its credibility as a research centre of excellence. MISR regained its semi-autonomous status (independence from the Faculty of Social Sciences) in 1994. The Institute then embarked on a staff development and training programme that has enabled it to acquire credibility and a reasonable degree of efficacy. Since then, MISR has raised its academic and institutional visibility; attracting viable projects which have generated national and international support.
|1||1948 -1950||W.H. Stanner||Economics|
|2||1950 -1956||Audrey I. Richards||Anthropology|
|3||1956 -1957||L.A. Fallers||Anthropology|
|4||1957 - 1968||Aidan Southal||Anthropology|
|5||1968||Ali Mazrui||Political Science|
|6||1968||Y. Z. Kyesimira||Economics|
|7||1968-1969||D.G.R. Belshaw||Agricultural Economics|
|8||1969||J.J. Oloya||Agricultural Economics|
|9||1969-1970||Victor Uchendu||Agricultural Economics|
|10||1970-1971||V.F Aman||Agricultural Economics|
|11||1971 - 1972||Yashpal A. Tandon||Political Science|
|12||1972-1974||A.G.G. Gingyera - Pinychwa||Political Science|
|13||1974-1977||Samwiri R. Karugire||History|
|15||1982-1992||Dan Muguwa Mudoola||Political Science|
|16||1992-1996||Apollo R. Nsibambi||Political Science|
|17||1996-1997||James Katorobo||Political Science|
|19||1999 - 2009||Nakanyike B.Musisi||History|
|20||2010-||Mahmood Mamdani||Political Science, Anthropology|