Unsettling Citizenship: African-Asian Lives and the Politics of Racialized Insecurity in Postcolonial Uganda

Anneeth Kaur Hundle
UC Irvine

This research project explores the complicated contradictions between the unresolved historical event of the 1972 expulsion of Asians in Uganda with a new post-1990s landscape of economic liberalization policies; geo-political and trade relations between Africa and South Asia; and new South Asian migration and community-building practices. Through detailed empirical and ethnographic research, the research explores these ambiguities by studying the 1972 expulsion of Asians in Uganda as a critical event in the study of the global history of decolonization, the ambiguities of settler/colonial subject identity, and the limits of liberal citizenship in the African postcolony. It then examines racialized minority citizenship through highly informalized realms of social, cultural and political practice, and argues that diverse racialized subjects respond to a structure of political insecurity through the flourishment of racialized “flexible securitization practices.” This theorization provides new analytical and epistemological ground for the study of citizenship practices in relation to race, racialization and securitization in East Africa. In doing so, it provokes new thinking about the kinds of local socio-political practices that make nations habitable after the violence of colonization and displacement in the anthropology of citizenship and in a global, African perspective.