Synopses & Reviews
In Idi Amins Shadow is a rich social history examining Ugandan womens complex and sometimes paradoxical relationship to Amins military state. Based on more than one hundred interviews with women who survived the regime, as well as a wide range of primary sources, this book reveals how the violence of Amins militarism resulted in both opportunities and challenges for women. Some assumed positions of political power or became successful entrepreneurs, while others endured sexual assault or experienced the trauma of watching their brothers, husbands, or sons disappeared” by the states security forces. In Idi Amins Shadow considers the crucial ways that gender informed and was informed by the ideology and practice of militarism in this period. By exploring this relationship, Alicia C. Decker offers a nuanced interpretation of Amins Uganda and the lives of the women who experienced and survived its violence.
Each chapter begins with the story of one woman whose experience illuminates some larger theme of the book. In this way, it becomes clear that the politics of military rule were highly relevant to women and gender relations, just as the politics of gender were central to militarism. By drawing upon critical security studies, feminist studies, and violence studies, Decker demonstrates that Amins dictatorship was far more complex and his rule much more strategic than most observers have ever imagined.
Alicia Decker uses an array of evidence from oral, visual, and written sources. The result is an impressive compilation of case studies that illustrate the different aspects of womens experiences and the intricate world they navigated.”
Nakanyike Musisi, coauthor of Decentralisation and Transformation of Governance in Uganda and coeditor of Women in African Colonial Histories
A substantial original contribution to East African history and the history of militarism in postcolonial Africa more broadly. Alicia Decker provides a compelling analysis of the lives of ordinary Ugandans, and women in particular, during Amins rule. She writes in an engaging, readable style that will appeal to both academics and those outside the academy.”
Neil Kodesh, author of Beyond the Royal Gaze: Clanship and Public Healing in Buganda
“In Idi Amin’s Shadow is the first book to extensively explore women’s lives in the ‘shadows’ of military rule in 1970s Uganda. Decker’s book presents an engaging, accessible and welcome examination of women’s ‘complex and sometimes paradoxical relationship to Amin’s military state,’ showing how the state’s use of violence offered opportunities as well as threats for women.”
—Africa at LSE