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Institute in Paris

Lisa Damon

Part-time Faculty in International Politics

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Summary of research interests and expertise

  • Central Africa (Uganda & Burundi) 
  • Migration & Refugee studies 
  • Cultural Translation 
  • Decolonization: Historical & Epistemological 
  • Ethnographic Methods & Alternative Pedagogies

My research connects with work being done across universities on the African continent and elsewhere to think through and experiment with ways of epistemologically decolonizing knowledge production. My particular experimentation endeavours have focused on translating local language concepts of mobility from the Great Lakes region of Central Africa and the histories of travel and residency they mobilize. I read my ethnographic research with contemporary migrants and refugees in Kampala and rural Buganda (2015-2020) alongside colonial and postcolonial archives to generate an understanding of migration as a politics of ‘voting with one’s feet.’ I am also interested in how oral history practices and historical linguistics can constitute an alternative archive from which to draw out resonances between present concepts of mobility and ways of being mobile in the precolonial past. Theorizing migration from the specific linguistic and experiential worlds of practitioners themselves is a first step toward providing alternative analytical and political categories through which to understand migration globally. 

With colleagues from the Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) now working in different universities across the continent, I am currently working on an edited volume that relates some of the pedagogical and research practices we experimented with over the past decade to theorize global problematics from postcolonial spaces.  

I am also involved in a project with Manchester Metropolitan University that proposes workshops run with LBGTQ+ and refugee women in Kampala called “Queering the Form.” The original aim was to teach zine-making to women living in rough circumstances in Kampala as a way of providing both a skill set and a creative outlet for working through some of the hardships they encounter. However, the outcome was so cathartic and the zines so beautiful that we are now collaborating with zine-producing and archiving online communities to give the work multiple homes. 


  • MPhil/PhD in Social Studies with a specialization in Political and Cultural Studies (MISR, Makerere University) 
  • BA double major in Comparative Literature and International Economics (AUP) 


  • With Gloria Kiconco, Charity Atukunda, Kate Pahl. “Queering the Form: Zine-Making as Disruptive Practice” in Cultural Studies – Critical Methodologies 1-13, 2022 
  • “Kampala Si Bizimbe”: Being a Barundi Refugee Resident in Kampala » in Re-mapping Contemporary Migration and Mobilities : Trends and Challenges in Africa. Special Issue of African and Black Diaspora : An International Journal. 2022 
  • “Is Palestine a Question?: Is Israel a [Colonial] Fact?” in MISR Review, Vol.4, 2020 
  • With Roberto Benduce, Paolo Gaibazzi, Johannes Machinya, Katharina Monz, “Comment décoloniser la recherche sur la migration africaine ? in Cosmopolis: : Revue de cosmopolitique, 2020 
  • Kurobera: Une tentative de conceptualizer la migration régionale à travers les Grands Lacs Africans” pour “l’Afrique en mouvement, en question » in JCEA, L’Afrique en mouvement, en question. 2020 
  • “Could Migrants and Refugees be Regional Residents in the Great Lakes Region?” 2020
  • “What do Binaries Do? Tracing the Effect of Social Science Categories on Knowledge Production in the Great Lakes” The MISR Review, Vol.2, 2019  
  • “A Note on Translating Frantz Fanon” and the translations of Frantz Fanon’s psychiatric articles in Nigel Gibson and Roberto Beneduce (eds).  Frantz Fanon: Psychiatry and Politics. London: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017