Institute of African Studies - Columbia University

The Africa Workshop: Yusuf Serunkuma, Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR)

Event Details

The Africa Workshop: Yusuf Serunkuma, Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR)
"De-Imagined Communities: History and Poetics of New Nationalism in Somaliland"
November 16, 2015 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
208 Knox Hall

The Africa Workshop features published papers and works in progress.

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Using popular culture as the discursive site for examining the poetics [symbolism, performance and meaning] of nationalism and identity in Somaliland, Yusuf offers preliminary reflections on new communities building themselves against the ruins of the postcolonial state: What identities, imagined futures and histories are constructed in constructing a Somaliland that is different from Somalia. Suggesting that Somaliland reflects a de-imagination of Somalia, how should we think about de-imagination as a method of nation-building?

Yusuf Kajura Serunkuma is a graduate Student at Makerere University Institute of Social Research (MISR) and a 2015 African Studies Association Presidential Fellow.  His PhD project, “Making Somaliland: Popular Culture, Identity and Recognition” springs from an understanding that East Africa and the Horn of Africa are deeply bounded to each other – as the over two-decade long crises in Somalia/Somaliland have vividly demonstrated. Yusuf has a Bachelors degree in Literature and English Language and an MPhil in Social Studies [Cultural Studies] both from Makerere University. In his free time, Yusuf moonlights as a columnist in Uganda’s newspapers, and a playwright. In 2014, Fountain Publishers published his first play, The Snake Farmers and reviewers received it warmly both in Kenya and his home country Uganda.