Alicia Decker (Penn State) as part of the Conference - Expulsion: Uganda’s Asians and the Remaking of Nationality
Between October 2 and December 31, 1982, nearly 80,000 Banyarwanda – most of whom were citizens of Uganda – were violently expelled from their homes by state operatives in Mbarara and
Bushenyi Districts. Approximately half fled to neighboring Rwanda, while the rest crowded into existing refugee settlements in the southwest or found themselves stranded on the Ugandan side of the border at Merema Hill. Unlike the Asian expulsion of 1972, the Banyarwanda were not given ninety days to prepare. Instead, they were attacked in their homes and forced to flee without a
moment’s notice. Most of the displaced lost everything they owned – their homes, their valuables, and their cattle. International observers also reported multiple instances of rape and suicide. I do not wish to suggest that the Asian expulsion was any less violent or traumatic. On the contrary, I argue that it provided a dangerous template that was later used by those in power to justify and carry out the next brutal eviction. Indeed, as this presentation reveals, expulsion functioned as a militarized form of statecraft that bolstered, and then later undermined, the integrity of the
Alicia C. Decker is an associate professor and department head of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Pennsylvania State University, with courtesy appointments in the African Studies Program and the Department of History. She also co-directs the African Feminist Initiative with Gabeba Baderoon and Maha Marouan. She is the author of In Idi Amin’s Shadow: Women, Gender, and Militarism in Uganda (Ohio UP, 2014), and co-author with Andrea L. Arrington-Sirois of Africanizing Democracies: 1980-Present (Oxford UP, 2015). She is the co-editor of “African
Feminisms: Cartographies for the 21st Century,” a special issue of Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism (2018) and “African Feminist Subjectivities,” a special issue of Feminist Formations(forthcoming 2024). With Giacomo Macola, she co-edits a book series on War and Militarism in African History (Ohio University Press) and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of African Military History. Her scholarly articles have appeared in the International Journal of African Historical Studies, Women’s History Review, Journal of Eastern African Studies, History Teacher, Afriche e Orienti, Feminist Studies, Journal of African Military History, and Meridians, as well as various edited book collections. Decker is currenting working on a new book that explores the gendered legacies of militarism in Uganda after the collapse of Amin’s military state.