The entrance to the Department of History’s office in Sidney Smith Hall

Carceral Modernities: Prison Officers and Professionalism in Postcolonial Uganda

Start Date and Time:

Friday, January 25, 2019, 2:00PM

End Date and Time:

Friday, January 25, 2019, 4:00PM


Dr. Katherine Bruce-Lockhart (SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow In The Department Of Historical Studies At UTM And The Jackman Humanities Institute)

Description: From the forts used to hold slaves prior to crossing the Atlantic to the iconic moment of Nelson Mandela’s release from Robben Island, spaces of incarceration have been central to shaping imaginaries of the African continent. Yet, scholars know very little about African prisons beyond alarming statistics and images of abuse. While historians have begun to trace the expansion of the prison through colonial rule, its postcolonial afterlives have either ignored or used to support narratives of state failure. Prisons, however, were crucial spaces in which the stakes of decolonization and visions of postcolonial modernity were negotiated. Turning to the case of the Uganda Prisons Service, this talk explores the ways in which the prison was imagined between Uganda’s independence in 1962 and the current president’s assumption of power in 1986. In particular, it focuses on the perspectives of prison officers, illuminating how they used their professional status to form new subjectivities as public servants and providers during decades of significant political upheaval and violence.

Bio: Katherine Bruce-Lockhart is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Historical Studies at UTM and the Jackman Humanities Institute. After doing her Bachelor's degree in African Studies and History at U of T, she did an MSc in African Studies at the University of Oxford and a PhD in History at the University of Cambridge. She has several publications on women's detention during the Mau Mau Rebellion in colonial Kenya and is currently completing a book manuscript on prisons in postcolonial Uganda, which is under advance contract with Ohio University Press. Katherine has taught African History courses at all three U of T campuses, and is currently teaching the course "Women in Sub-Saharan Africa" at UTSC.


  • Africanist Seminar Series

Contact Information

Julis MacArthur


Room 2053, Wilson Hall, New College, 40 Willcocks St, Toronto, ON, M5S 1C6 view full map




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Prison Sign in Uganda