The lives, deaths and afterlives of John Garang: Imagining politics in southern Sudan
Supervisor: Professor Jocelyn Alexander
This project focuses on the lives, deaths and afterlives of John Garang, the founder of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) which fought against southern Sudanese oppression by the government of Sudan. It examines how different actors have interpreted Garang as they sought to make sense of southern Sudan over the course of its liberation struggle (c.1963-2005) and subsequent independence (2011). By all accounts a powerful personality, Garang was a dictatorial and controlling leader, and Sudanese liberation politics in the 1980s and 1990s were located as much in his physical person as in political or ideological divisions. Taking Garang as both subject and method, I seek to integrate biographical narratives and stories, told of Garang both contemporaneously and retrospectively, into a decades-long history of contested political imaginings, situating this within ongoing debates about the character of South Sudan as a new nation still ‘in the making’.