Current Institutional Affiliation
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Social Anthropology, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2016
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, New York University
In the Image of God?: Disability and Christianity in Uganda

What does it mean in an African context to claim that people with disabilities are created in the "image of God"? This is a central assertion of Christian disability-focused initiatives in Uganda, where more than 20 percent of the population is disabled in a post-conflict setting defined by scarce state resources, widespread poverty, and intense disability stigma. Disability has become a meaningful category of human difference in Uganda via the circulation of secular Euro-American law, policy, biomedicine, and activism. Yet paradoxically it is Christian groups rather than the state or secular non-governmental organizations that are most active around disability issues today. Christian groups are now central to the provision of care, advocacy, and material assistance for Ugandans with disabilities. In varying and contested ways, partnerships involving Ugandan and European Catholics, Ugandan Pentecostals, and American and European evangelicals contend that disability is divinely ordained and that people with disabilities should be embraced as such. I will undertake 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in order to study how Christian disability ministries foster emergent understandings of disability and new forms of disability politics in Uganda.