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State Punishment in Colonial and Post-colonial Anglophone Africa

This project, funded by an HF Guggenheim Fellowship, analyses violence in African penal systems in British colonies and their post-colonial successor states. Empirical evidence on prosecution and incarceration for 1870-1980 will be collated to understand how violence was embedded in penal systems, from patterns of conviction through to disciplinary practices within prisons. The project uses extensive archival records to investigate how racial and gender dynamics affected penal systems and practices of punishment, compiling comparative data on the evolution of prison systems that will allow a more insightful examination of the colonial legacies evident in Africa’s post-colonial carceral institutions.

The HF Guggenheim Foundation have generously extended the project into 2023, to compensate for the loss of research activities during the Covid period. In the coming months, two journal articles will be produced, and a monograph Extreme Penalties: State Punishment in Kenya and Uganda since 1900 has been contracted with the Bloomsbury Press, to be completed in 2023.

Project Team:

Co-Investigator: Professor David M Anderson

Co-Investigator: Professor Katherine Bruce-Lockhart (University of Waterloo)