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    Postgraduate courses



    21 January-1 February, 2013


    The Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies (GU),in cooperation with the Platform for Stability, Democracy and Rights and the ENRECA Project ‘Changing Human Security’, announce the first workshop in the series: Core Concepts in the Social Sciences. 



    The Workshop examines pluralism – the co-existence of two or more perspectives, principles or sources of authority - from the perspective of law and anthropology.  Pluralism in this sense is daily experience in any parts of the world, not least in northern Uganda, but these perspectives are often ignored in social and political discourse.  Legaland social positivism seems to prevail and the existence of different, yet co-existing, systems, which draw on different social and cultural forms, is seldom recognized.  The workshop seeks to address this problem both as an academic issue and as a practical contribution to developing better tools for recognising and understandingpluralism in northern Uganda today in a variety of contexts: justice and peace building, land wrangles’, gender rights and access to environmental resources. The issues raised (not least positivist vs. pluralist positions) will have analytical and theoretical relevance well beyond the legal field itself.



    (1) Pluralism and the anthropology of law

    We start with academic perspectives from legal anthropology, reviewing key contributors to a continuing discussion.We discuss definitions of law from a pluralist social and cultural perspective and explore the ways in which the legal anthropology has responded to changing social and legal paradigms. We look at how research methods in the field have developed, and we ask if ‘old’ problems and research issues still remain relevant. Texts include classic as well as contemporary studies from East Africa and beyond.


    (2) Pluralism and the international judicial system

    Here we again begin byreviewing key theoretical and philosophical debates in legal history that still remain relevant (for example, human rights as universal rights). In order to explore practices as well as concepts, we examine legal perspectives on the classification and function of legal systems and their relationship to each other.  Finally, we trace the history and politics of supranational legal institutions in different parts of the world, with special emphasis on the development of the ICC.This theme concludes with a review of the role of the ICC in East Africa, exploring cases and debates from the perspectives of northern Uganda as well as other national and international positions. 


    (3) Law and practice in communities: (mis)understandingconflict,

    Drawing on current research, we explore a variety of cases, which raise classic legal pluralism issues from anthropology and law.  Examples will focus on ‘land grabbing,’ natural resource management, gender roles and rights, and justice and peace building.  Common to all is that conflict is based not simply on ‘facts’ but also in the social positions and cultural entitlements of the different parties. In each case we explore definitions and understandings and we ask if and how it is possible to ‘translate’ concepts from North to South, from culture to culture, even from age group to age group. We explore (with help from our students) possible areas for research and discuss the methodological tools are most appropriate for different kinds of research.Here we also present the on-going DSS study in Awach and explore how this project, whose data-base is accessible for researchers, may track potential conflict areas in new ways.

    . and to explore possible areas for research



    Class Exercise  (to be submitted ca. medio February)

    Working in 3-4 person groups, students identify and develop their own cases during the workshop, drawing on field visits and literature.  Each case analysis is based on field data and focuses on a specific aspect of a conflict at one or more levels; cases use – or challenge - the pluralism framework presented in texts and lectures.



    Evaluation of the workshop is by attendance (minimum 80%) and a pass on the class exercise. 



    Michael Whyte (University of Aarhus), Martin Menneche (University of Copenhagen), Lioba Lenhart(Gulu University)

    In addition, we will recruit teachers and case presenters from IPSS and from the wider community at the University and the region.  We also hope for participation by key practitioners in the legal and customary systems in northern Uganda.




    The workshop will be held at Gulu University and is free of charge.  Teaching will be from 0900 to 1330 and includes lunch.  Occasional activities (special lectures, panel discussions) will be scheduled in the afternoon. 


    Applications are welcomed from staff and post-graduate students at Gulu and Maseno Universities. Others students may be accepted depending on qualifications.  There are 20 places in the workshop.


    PLEASE APPLY BY E-MAIL to Robert Kiduma <> OR to Alidri Agatha <>

    In the mail include your current affiliation and a brief CV.  Remember also to include a few lines on research and research interests.


    Deadline for applications is 11 January, 2013, at 1600.