Africa at Noon on February 6, 2013

Precolonial Intellectuals and the Production of Knowledge in the Colonial Northern Uganda

Patrick W. Otim
Ph.D. Student, History
University of Wisconsin-Madison

12:00pm, 206 Ingra­ham Hall, 1155 Obser­va­tory Drive, Madi­son, WI


This presentation employs the life and work of Lacito Okech, an Anglican convert and a colonial chief, to explore important questions about the production of local history in colonial Acholiland. The central questions that I am raising are: How much did Okech’s position as a middle figure between the Church Missionary Society, the colonial regime, and the Acholi influence his writing of history? How did he straddle all these different worlds? What were his dilemmas in the middle of the three worlds as a local historian?


Patrick W. Otim is an historian of Africa with a particular emphasis on East Africa, especially northern Uganda. His research interests center on African intellectual history and transitional justice. His MA thesis: “The Emergence of Local Intellectuals: Lacito Okech and the Writing of Early Twentieth-century Acholi History in Northern Uganda,” won the 2012 A.C. Jordan Prize for the best paper in the African Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, he is preparing a PhD dissertation proposal on the role of precolonial Acholi intellectuals in the shaping the colonial state and the implementation of its rule in northern Uganda.