Abigail Meert


B.A. in History (Honors) and English, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, 2013
M.A. in History (African), Emory University, 2016

Research Interests

Modern Africa
East Africa/Great Lakes Region
Political History
Military History

Dissertation Topic

"Suffering, Struggle, and the Politics of Legitimacy in Uganda, 1962-1996"

Faculty Advisor

Clifton Crais


My dissertation examines the politics of suffering and the making of political legitimacy in Africa, looking specifically at the rise of the National Resistance Army/Movement to power in Uganda during the 1981-86 Luwero War. In the dissertation, I analyze how a guerrilla movement mobilized enough popular support to overthrow an independent African government for the first time in postcolonial African history. Combining multi-sited archival research, political writings, local records, and historical and ethnographic records with over ninety oral interviews, my dissertation provides the first comprehensive history of the NRA/M. By examining the NRA/M's unprecedented victory, my research further illustrates the political imaginations of the NRA/M and those who consented to its rule during a period of intense political conflict and transition.

My research has been supported thus far by a Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship, Emory University's Joseph J. Mathews Prize for dissertation research, a Fulbright-Hays GPA award from Yale University and the U.S. Department of Education, multiple FLAS grants from the U.S. Department of Education, and Emory University's Professional Development Support Funds.

Since 2013, I have taken part in the preservation of two Ugandan archives, one in Kabale District and the other in Jinja District. The Kabale and Jinja District Archives are among the country's largest collections and some of a very few to be fully catalogued and preserved.