MISR staff, and thesis examiners, pose with the author Haydee Bangerezako (center front) after the defence on August 28th, 2017 in MISR seminar room 1.
By Eddie Ssemakula.
Makerere Institute of Social Research student, Ms. Haydee Bangerezako, has successfully completed her PhD defence. Her thesis, entitled ‘Indirect Writing and the production of History in Burundi: Official History and Woman as 'Mwami’ focused on how new historical narratives emerged from the co-authorship between the colonizer and the colonized.
MISR Staff, thesis examiners, and Haydee’s dissertation defence held in MISR Seminar Room 1 on August 28th aimed at decolonizing the pre-colonial historiography by studying overlooked power centres in oral sources: the oral stories’ heroes like Samandari and Inarunyonga, the Bashingantahe, men of integrity, bapfumu (diviners) that are part of popular history.
Her thesis, supervised by Makerere Institute of Social Research Director, Prof Mahmood Mamdani, was officially opposed by Prof. Joseph Gahama from East Africa University Rwanda, was internally examined by College of Humanities and Social Sciences Deputy Principal, Assoc Prof Josephine Ahikire, and the Dean, School of Women and Gender Studies, Dr Sarah Ssali.
Prof. Gahama applauded the candidate’s demonstrated ability to carry out scientific work and pondered concerning the presence of women writing in history.
Examination committee member and Makerere School of Gender and Women studies lecturer, Dr Florence Ebila, applauded the author’s ability to make scholars speak to each other noting, “On page 162, you discuss other delivered presentations of Inarunyonga, that’s good! Dr Ebila, however, questioned the author’s ‘representation of strong women in history by male scholars.’
The Dean, Makerere School of Gender and Women studies, and thesis examiner, Dr Sarah Ssali, remarked towards the defence noting “Is this just a poor subject of decolonization, is history from below (preferred oral history) gender sensitive, compared to the privileged history of colonialism? “
One MISR PhD candidate wondered whether there was really nothing to applaud about the colonial construction of histories, especially when they help the author realize what was left unwritten, in the first place.
Other audience responses raised concerns related to the author’s self-perception in her work. Among others, feedback was offered concerning ‘histories from below’.
The event marks the first of two of MISR’s 2017 PhD defence events with another slated for September 4th. 2017, when another MISR candidate, Yonas Ashine will be defending his thesis entitled “Prophets and Subjects of Development: Slavery, Civilization and State Formation in Ethiopia.”
Find more event photos in our gallery here.