Lisa Damon

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Makerere U.

Grant number

Gr. 9694

Approve Date

October 5, 2018

Project Title

Damon, Lisa S., Makerere U., Kampala, Uganda - To aid research on 'The Barundi in Buganda: Not So Migrant Identities Based on Not So Ethnic Difference,' supervised by Dr. Lyn Ossome

LISA S. DAMON, then a graduate student at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, was awarded a grant in October 2018 to aid research on ‘The Barundi in Buganda: Not So Migrant Identities Based on Not So Ethnic Difference,’ supervised by Dr. Lyn Ossome. This project is an attempt to theorize regional movements across the African Great Lakes through the case of Barundi travel and residency in Buganda/Central Uganda, known in Kirundi as kurobera (broadly meaning ‘to disappear for a time.’) The fieldwork was intended to gather the experiences of Barundi residents having arrived from the late colonial period to the present, and to let their meanings accrue around the term. Research was conducted in the colonial and CCB (Centre de Civilisation Burundaise) archives in Bujumbura, alongside semi-structured interviews with returnees, family members, and social workers to establish the social history of the practice. This was followed by several months of participant observation, individual and group interviews in the secondary towns of Mitiana, Mubende and Mpigi and neighboring villages in order to collect as wide an array of life and travel experiences as possible. A final trip was taken to Nakivale, a refugee settlement through which many Barundi transit or elect residence, to compare experiences inside and out of the settlement. From this experiment in historical ethnography came an understanding of regional mobility that takes place outside and between the boundaries of what is generally interpreted as labor migrant or political refugee experiences, producing rather the contours of a kind of regional citizenship.