Derek Peterson (Michigan) as part of the Conference - Expulsion: Uganda’s Asians and the Remaking of Nationality
This essay is about the management of economic liberation in Idi Amin’s Uganda. The Economic War transformed petty questions about the conduct of business into thrilling matters of racial liberation. There were a great many scapegoats: first the Asian community, latterly Africans who would not, or could not, follow the official rules. The punishments were draconian: economic crimes were, after 1975, punishable by death. For people in power, the Economic War was a means of making austerity, inhumanity and brutality seem essential, a crucial aspect of their heroic leadership.
Derek Peterson is Ali Mazrui Professor of History & African Studies at the University of Michigan. He’s the author, most recently, of _The Unseen Archive of Idi Amin: Photographs from the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation_ (Prestel, 2021) (with R. Vokes). Peterson is presently engaged in several curatorial projects focused on the recovery and digitization of endangered film and paper archives in Uganda. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2017.