Nyanzi Reports on her Fellowship at University of Western Cape

Dr. Stella Nyanzi is one of three Ugandans who received the early post-doctoral fellowship of the African Humanities Program for the 2011-2012 academic year. Started in 2009-2010, the African Humanities Program is implemented by the American Council of Learned Societies with funds from the Carnegie Corporation (see http://www.acls.org/programs/ahp/).  This competitive fellowship targets both doctoral students in their final year and early post-doctoral fellows who are not more than four years past their doctorate degree. Applicants are drawn from five countries namely Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda (http://www.acls.org/fellows/ahp-postdoc/). The fellowship facilitates concentration on the development of a manuscript either as a doctoral thesis or a monograph for publication. In addition to a book grant and research stipend, fellows have the choice of attending a writing fellowship at an African institute in a country other than their own.

During this fellowship, Dr. Nyanzi is focusing on developing a monograph from her ethnographic research entitled Politicizing ‘the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah’: Examining the Christian Rightists’ war against homosexuality in Uganda. Located within contemporary urban and rural Uganda, this study explores the context, ethos and rationalizations, processes and strategies, as well as the effects of the Christian Rightists’ opposition to homosexuality. Central to the study is an exploration of why and how diverse members of the Christian Right movements in Uganda are galvanizing resources against homosexuality. Furthermore, the study examines the effects of and responses to this anti-homosexuality organizing, particularly on the everyday lives of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) individuals and groups living in Uganda.

Dr. Nyanzi spent two months on a writing residency at the Centre for Humanities Research of the University of Western Cape (see http://humanities.uwc.ac.za/). Located in South Africa, the Centre for Humanities Research is well-suited to serious academic production of scholarly knowledge in the humanities and social sciences. In addition to offering annual post-doctoral fellowships, this centre also runs weekly seminars. The writing residency in South Africa availed Dr. Nyanzi the opportunity to present some preliminary research findings at the New Social Forms Seminar of the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Stellenbosch University in March 2012 (see http://sun025.sun.ac.za/portal/page/portal/Arts/Departments/sociology/se...), and at the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies in the University of the Western Cape in April 2012. More of the preliminary research findings will be presented at the launch of the fourth African Humanities Program competition at Makerere University in May 2012, and at the University of Ghana in June 2012. Data analysis and developing of the manuscript and research articles is on-going until March 2013.

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