The East African region has witnessed a chequered history insofar as governance is concerned. At the moment, Somalia is still crawling from the jaws of years of conflict while in South Sudan, a crucial peace deal/cease fire has just been signed between the government and rebels. In Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and the rest of the great lakes states, critical debates with long histories still rage on issues of governance, constitutionalism, citizenship, press freedom and human rights. For decades, East African’s experience with issues of governance has been immortalised and preserved in their print cultures such as newspapers, diaries, personal journals, pamphlets, newsletters and even personal letters. These printed materials and the corresponding modes and practices of consumption offers critical insight of how groups and individuals articulated their interests with the state. Indeed, the scrutiny of these materials promises an invaluable yet under researched perspective insofar as governance was imagined, preserved and actualised in the past.
This panel therefore invites contributions from the East African region and beyond which offer original insights on how print cultures, and where possible the actors behind them, conceived broadly to include newspapers and newspapermen, journals and journal writers, letters and letter writers and so on, interrogated the issue of governance. Naturally, since the present is always a product of its complex past, we specifically seek contributions that are historical in nature and which examine how East Africans imagined change, democracy and leadership and how these experiences were preserved in their print cultures.
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