Here in Minneapolis, Earth Day and the Invisible Children campaign to “Cover the Night” clashed just a bit, as we found our own Walker Art Center’s sculpture garden damaged in the name of raising awareness about Joseph Kony and the ongoing atrocities in Uganda. For a lot of people here and elsewhere, the name Kony has certainly become more “famous” with Invisible Children’s recent efforts, but the context has been lacking. Beyond a flashy video and exhortations to do something now—even if it’s causing a lot of expensive damage to public art—many are left without any real idea of what’s happening in Uganda, how Ugandans themselves are working to solve the crisis, and how effective campaigns like Invisible Children and even the individual efforts of well-meaning Americans can really be. Our own Shannon Golden recently interviewed the U of M’s Amy Finnegan, who wrote her dissertation on Invisible Children, about these vexing questions, and now Finnegan has launched a website with other scholars in order to help give a broader view and perspective on Kony, Uganda, and activism. Dr. Finnegan writes:
In response to Kony2012, Making Sense of Kony has some excellent information to contextualize and begin further dialogue on the LRA, northern Uganda and the surrounding region, militarization in Africa, and the role of advocacy. Please check it out and pass it on!
Thanks to Dr. Finnegan for continuing the role of public sociology by taking on such a big, tangled issue and working to help us all understand it better. For those of you who are academics, you’ll also find helpful teaching resources on the new site.