The Ambiguous Role of Religion

Churches and Spirits at War and Peace in Northern Uganda

Please note: This page refers to an event that has already taken place.

Time: Monday, 26 November 2012 12:15-14:00
Place: PRIO, Hausmanns gate 7, Oslo

Christianity has played key roles in the wars and peace processes of the Uganda/South Sudan border region. It has offered a source of ideas about moral values and the spirit world, and Christian activists have often taken on instrumental roles of various kinds. Christianity has been evoked as both a justification for terrible acts and as a basis for conflict resolution and social healing. This talk will highlight some of the contradictory qualities of Christian influence. In particular it will explore the role of the Christian religion in possession cults, in witch-cleansing,  in the activities of the Holy Spirit Movement  and Lord’s Resistance Army, and in efforts to find ways of establishing a more stable and less violent social order.

Speaker: Professor Tim Allen (London School of Economic and Political Science)
Respondent: Senior Researcher Morten Bøås (FAFO)
Chair: Senior Researcher Kristin Sandvik (PRIO)

All are welcome! A light lunch will be served at 12:00
Tim Allen is Professor in Development Anthropology and head of the department of International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and research director of the Justice and Security Research Programme, based at the LSE with funding from the UK’s Department for International Development. He has spent more than thirty years working and researching in various parts of Africa, as well as writing on international issues. Some of his books include Poverty and Development into the 21st CenturyThe Media of Conflict: War Reporting and Representations of Ethnic Violence (Zed Books), Divided Europeans: Understanding Ethnicities in Conflict (Kluwer), In Search of Cool Ground: War, Flight and Homecoming in Northeast Africa (James Currey) and Southern Sudan at Odds with Itself (LSE/PACT). He has also published two books relating to the Lord’s Resistance Army: The Lord’s Resistance Army: Myth and Reality (Zed Books), and Trial Justice: the Lord’s Resistance Army and the International Criminal Court (Zed Press). Another area of interest is in disease control in Africa, particularly HIV/AIDS and the so called NTDs (neglected tropical diseases). (OUP).
Morten Bøås is a senior researcher at Fafo's Institute for Applied International Studies. He has written extensively about African politics and conflict, and global development issues. Bøås's work has been published in journals such as Third World Quarterly, Journal of Modern African Studies, Politique Africaine, and Global Governance. His most recently published books include African Guerrillas: Raging Against the Machine (Lynne Reiner, 2007, co-edited with Kevin Dunn) and International Development Vol. I-IV (Sage, 2010, co-edited with Benedicte Bull), and forthcoming January 2013, Politics of Origin in Africa: Autochthony, Citizenship and Conflict (Zed Books, 2013, co-authored with Kevin Dunn)