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Bazarrabusa: A Ugandan Life is:

  • an ongoing project documenting the life and times of Ugandan writer, statesman, educator and mountaineer Timothy Byabasakuzi Bazarrabusa;
  • a contribution to the visibility of Ugandan history on the Web;
  • an attempt to write history through biography and biography through history;
  • an investigation of the ways in which a particular historical conjuncture (in this case, the colonial moment in Uganda) produced particular forms of individuality;
  • a work of “born digital” scholarship, whose first edition will be published and read online.

Bazarrabusa: A Ugandan Life is a multi-faceted undertaking through which I explore both substantive and methodological questions.

As a biography, it is necessarily informed by a theory of the subject and a set of hypotheses about the relationship between structure and agency.

As the biography of a moderately nationalist, Christian, educated Mukonzo who was strongly acculturated into Toro society, it gives me an opportunity to investigate themes such as the role of the Church in upward social mobility, how social change in colonial Africa affected subjectivity and personal trajectories, and how individuals negotiated the formation of national (and nationalist) identities.

As a piece of Web-based digital scholarship, it allows me to grapple with issues such as design patterns and narrative forms for digital history, information architecture, wayfinding in hypertext documents, metadata design, and usability.

Formally, the online edition will enact both the “narrative” and “archival” modes of digital history by providing a hypertext biography of Bazarrabusa and a structured set of digitized primary documents. It will, of course, employ the standard scholarly apparatus of footnotes and bibliography, as well as providing resources such as timelines and a glossary. I hope it will represent a possible model for anyone who wants to publish a scholarly project online.

Technical specifications

I am using Drupal (curently, version 5.2) as the framework for building Bazarrabusa: A Ugandan Life. Drupal is an elegant, powerful, modular open source content management system with an enormous user base and an active community of developers. It has a flexible content model (via core code and CCK) and strong metadata capabilities (via Taxonomy). Several contributed modules make Drupal a particularly appropriate platform for historical web sites (notably Footnotes, Bibliography, G2 Glossary and Timeline).

About this blog

This blog is powered by WordPress 2.2.2. For more about its raisons d’être see my first post, “Why BazBlog?