Katharine Lindquist

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Emory U.

Grant number

Gr. 10231

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

Lindquist, Katharine (Emory U.) "Africa Rising, Africa Uprising: Middle-Class Futures in Urban Uganda"

This project investigates the role of young, middle-class professionals in helping determine the future direction of urban Africa. Since the beginning of the 21st century, popularized development narratives of “Africa Rising” have projected the future of Africa as a neoliberal success story. Much less publicized is the story of “Africa Uprising,” embodied in the recent wave of social justice-oriented popular protest that has engulfed urban landscapes. With some of the most expansive neoliberal reforms in Africa as well as recurrent popular protests against those very policies, Uganda is an ideal place to theorize about these alternative politics of possibility. Young professionals in Kampala – Uganda’s capital – feel the push and pull of these two futures-orientations acutely, constantly negotiating between the allure of a middle-class lifestyle and the seemingly inescapable realities of urban inequality in an increasingly autocratic state. The goal of this project is to understand how young professionals negotiate between a future of consumer citizenship and a future of social justice in their everyday lives. Using ethnographic methods this project will contribute to scholarship on middle classness in Africa, African youth, the anthropology of the future, and African politics in the wake of neoliberalism.