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Department of History


Ron Atkinson

Title: Emeritus Faculty
Department: History
College of Arts and Sciences


  • B.A. Kalamazoo College
  • Ph.D. Northwestern University


Ron Atkinson teaches African history and is Director of African Studies at the University of South Carolina, where he has won numerous teaching awards. He has lived and worked in Kenya and Uganda in East Africa, Ghana in West Africa, and South Africa. His major focus of research and writing is the Acholi region and people in northern Uganda. He has published The Origins of the Acholi of Uganda (1999), co-wrote Traditional Ways of Coping in Acholi: Cultural Provisions for Reconciliation and Healing from War (2006), and is the author or co-author of numerous articles on Acholi history and contemporary affairs. In addition, for nearly seven years during the political transition from apartheid in South Africa, he assisted in establishing and administering a program to train Black educational leaders, helped develop and co-edited a multi-volume set of materials for that program, and wrote numerous articles on the topic.


I have recently returned from sabbatical research leave in northern Uganda during the 2008-09 academic year. While there I worked on a variety of research, editing, and writing projects, many still ongoing. These include two editing projects and a large-scale, three-to-five year oral history project to record, transcribe, and translate personal and community histories from across Acholi, the epicenter of the long northern Uganda war.

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