This carefully constructed and exhaustively researched account about the formation of the conflicting political beliefs held by four well-known influential colonial figures in the Buganda Kingdom of Uganda deepens our understanding of tensions within Ganda tradition—a culture that has often been misunderstood as homogeneous. In addition, these actors’ beliefs show that both the Kingdom and its relations with Uganda contained political possibilities never realized. In three ways, Earle modifies conventional notions that academics regularly draw as sharp distinctions in explaining Africa’s history and particularly that of Buganda. Instead, his broad purpose is to show, first, that the actors in question reconceptualized Western antinomies between sacred and secular perspectives; second, that they also rethought antimonies between forward and backward-looking perspectives; third, that they combined both reconsiderations, though in different ways. His narrower purpose is to reexamine historical issues that occurred shortly before and during British rule over Buganda.

Earle’s use of...

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