Thesis: 'The State and its Competitors in East Africa: A History'
This thesis traces a critical history of statehood and its competitors in East Africa primarily from the twentieth century to the present, crucially including an analysis of the thought (from both elites and non-elites) that surrounded and challenged the coming-into-being of present state-forms. It pays particular attention to the debates on and challenges of polity-making across the decades, highlighting the contradictions and non-straightforwardness of the discourse.
It also contends with contemporary failures of the state, including questions of lack of effective control or even total failure. I crucially include art, literature and popular culture as historical sites of theorising the polity and the ideal in the region, and try to foreground the aspirations of the everyday East African with regard to their state or polity.