Ethnic Patriotism and the East African Revival shows how, in the era of African political independence, cosmopolitan Christian converts struggled with East Africa's patriots over the definition of culture and community. The book traces the history of the East African Revival, an evangelical movement that spread through much of eastern and central Africa. Its converts offered a subversive reading of culture, disavowing their compatriots and disregarding their obligations to kin. They earned the ire of East Africa's patriots, who worked to root people in place as inheritors of ancestral wisdom. This book casts religious conversion in a new light: not as an inward reorientation of belief, but as a political action that opened up novel paths of self-narration and unsettled the inventions of tradition.
Derek R. Peterson teaches African history at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Creative Writing: Translation, Bookkeeping, and the Work of Imagination in Colonial Kenya and the editor of several books, including Recasting the Past: History Writing and Political Work in Modern Africa and Abolitionism and Imperialism in Britain, Africa and the Atlantic. Peterson is a recipient of the Philip Leverhulme Prize for Modern History and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
List of illustrations; Acknowledgments; 1. Introduction: the pilgrims' politics; 2. The infrastructure of cosmopolitanism; 3. Religious movements in southern Uganda; 4. Civil society in Buganda; 5. Taking stock: conversion and accountancy in Bugufi; 6. Patriotism and dissent in western Kenya; 7. The politics of moral reform in northwestern Tanganyika; 8. Subjects of the law: conversion and court procedure; 9. Casting characters: autobiography and political argument in central Kenya; 10. Confession, slander, and civic virtue in Mau Mau detention camps; 11. Contests of time in western Uganda; Conclusion: pilgrims and patriots in contemporary East Africa; Bibliography.