Yusuf Serunkuma Kajura is a cultural studies major with training in historical studies. He recently completed writing his dissertation for the award of Interdisciplinary PhD in Social Studies at Makerere University Institute of Social Research (MISR), Makerere University. His PhD thesis is titled, “Making Somaliland: Popular Culture, Identity and National Consciousness,” and going via the vehicle of popular culture, he focused on mobilization of nationalist sentiment and identity making in Somaliland after the 1991 civil war in a context of secession from Somalia. As part of this project, Yusuf uses the case study of Somaliland to attempts to develop a theory for “secessionist nationalism” both as independently constituted, but also as different from anti-colonial nationalism. He has offered “de-imagined communities” as the conceptual term for this endeavor.
Yusuf has been recipient of several awards including Social Sciences Research Council (SSRC) Next Gen. Social Sciences, and the African Humanities Programme (AHP) fellowship offered by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). He was African Studies Association (ASA) Presidential Fellow in 2015. Among other scholarly interests, he is interested in debates on decolonization, and nationalist sentiment. Some of his well-read pieces on this area include, “Where are the African Scholars in African Studies?” and “The Academia is Marketplace: History, Context and Decolonization at Makerere University.” Both articles were published online in the semi-academic platform, Pambazuka News.
Yusuf holds a BA in English Language and Literature, and an MPhil in Cultural Studies both from Makerere University. He apprenticed at The Independent magazine as journalist and subeditor. In late 2008, he joined Uganda’s lead book publisher, Fountain Publishers Ltd and worked as editor for five years before joining MISR in Jan 2012 for his graduate studies. He is a columnist in the Ugandan weekly, The Observer, and also moonlights as a playwright. His play, The Snake Farmers (2014) is a set-book for secondary schools in Rwanda and Uganda – at A’ Level.
Email: yusufkajura[at]gmail.com, and yusuf.serunkuma[at]misr.mak.ac.ug