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A Bibliography of Karamoja, Uganda: Books and Articles Published in English

Michael D. Quam, University of Illinois, Springfield

The Karamoja region of northeastern Uganda is bordered on the east by the Rift Valley escarpment that drops down into the Kenya territory of Turkana, on the north by the Sudan, on the south by the Mt. Elgon region, and on the west by the home territories of the Teso, Langi, and Acholi peoples. A large region of approximately 27,200 square kilometers, it is dominated by the huge semi-arid plains of its center, where rainfall is seasonal, unpredictable, and too often sparse. In the north and south and along the eastern escarpment the land becomes more forested and mountainous, and in the west the area of the Labwor people is better watered.


Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Karamoja has been an region of sporadic political concern to outside authorities, first the British colonial rulers, and then the Ugandan national government. Karamoja has been seen by these outsiders as a land of lawlessness and primitive culture, inhabited by bloodthirsty people who preyed upon neighboring groups, and were irrationally attached to their cattle, who refused to participate in modern forms of government and the market economy, resisted formal education and Christianity, and avoided paying taxes. Because of its geographical location, Karamoja has also been seen as a strategic frontier, and thus, its perceived disorder is viewed as doubly dangerous. The early part of this twentieth century history is well-described by Barber in the works cited below. The deeper oral history is provided through the works of Lamphear.


The principal ethnic groups of Karamoja are classically identified within the “Karamojong Cluster,” i.e., the Dodoth in the north, the Jie in the center, and the Karimojong in the center-south. The Karimojong further divide themselves into three major regional and ethnic sub-groups, the Matheniko, Bokora, and Pian. The foundation of our knowledge of these groups is based on the major ethnographic works of the Gullivers and the Dyson-Hudsons. Other groups in the Karamojong Cluster outside of Karamoja are the Teso, the Turkana, and one or two smaller groups in southern Sudan. Because the Turkana have A Bibliography of Karamoja, Uganda Michael D. Quam 2 EJAB, Volume 5, 1999 maintained complex and active relations with Karamoja peoples, they figure prominently in several of the works cited below. The principal Karamojong groups in Karamoja are all semi-nomadic pastoralists who also rely on seasonal horticultural production. An economically similar (although linguistically quite different) group, the Pakot or Suk, inhabits a territory in southeastern Karamoja that includes both Ugandan and Kenyan land. In western Karamoja is the relatively more fertile area of Labwor, where horticulture is the principal means of livelihood and the people are ethnically more similar to their Ugandan neighbors to the west. Several very small groups of ethnically marginalized people are also found literally on the fringes of Karamoja. The Tepeth or So are best known through the work of the Laughlins and Weatherby, while our information regarding the Teuso or Ik is sketchy and perhaps unreliable, and about the Nyakwai we know even less.


Much of the published research on Karamoja was done prior to the 1970’s. In the early 1970’s Karamoja entered a long period of turmoil and distress. As a series of governments were installed and then expelled by force of arms, the disorder at the center spread to the perifery and in Karamoja a wide-open trade in rifles and ammunition rapidly expanded. When the region was hit by a series of severe droughts and famine in the 1980’s, the social and economic fabric began to fray as armed groups engaged in continuous raiding and banditry. A brief summary of the effects of this disorder is provided by Quam. The published literature from this period largely reflects these troubled times. Much of it is based on analysis of relief efforts, and some of the more recent items come from the Centre for Basic Research in Kampala which published a series of reports and analytical pieces on the “crisis” in Karamoja.


As noted in the subtitle, this bibliography is limited to books and articles published in English. It does not include government reports or reports issued by international organizations. In the areas of history, ethnography, linguistics, and the social sciences, it is reasonably complete, however, there may be articles in the natural, medical, agricultural, and veterinary sciences that have escaped the compiler’s notice. With the establishment of a more peaceful situation in Karamoja, we can expect that new research will be conducted and reported soon in the scholarly press.

  1. Abrahams, R. G. “Reaching an Agreement over Bridewealth in Labwor, Northern Uganda: A Case Study.” In Councils in Action, edited by A. Richards and A. Kuper, 202-15. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971.


  1. Abrahams, R. G. “Spirit, Twins and Ashes in Labwor.” In The Interpretation of Ritual: Essays in Honour of A. I. Richards, edited by J. LaFontaine, 115-34. London: Tavistock, 1972.


  1. Abrahams, R. G. “Aspects of Labwor Age and Generation Grouping and Related Systems.” In Age, Generation and Time: Some Features of East African Age Organizations, edited by P. T. W. Baxter and U. Almagor, 37-67. London: C. Hurst and Co., 1978.
  2. Abrahams, R. G. “Dual Organization in Labwor?” Ethnos 51 (1986): 88-104.
  3. Alnwick, D. J. “The 1980 Famine in Karamoja.” In Crisis in Uganda: The Breakdown of Health Services, edited by C. P. Dodge and P. D. Weibe, 127-44. New York: Pergamon Press, 1985. A Bibliography of Karamoja, Uganda Michael D. Quam 3 EJAB, Volume 5, 1999
  4. Baker, Randall. “Development and the Pastoral Peoples of Karamoja, North-East Uganda: An Example of the Treatment of Symptoms.” In Pastoralism in Tropical Africa, edited by T. Monod, 187-205. London: Oxford University Press, 1975.
  5. Baker, Randall. “Polarisation: Stages in the Environmental Impact of Alien Ideas on a Semi- Pastoral Society.” In Landuse and Development, edited by P. O’Keefe and B. Wisner, 151-70. London: International African Institute, 1977.
  6. Barber, J. P. “The Karamoja District of Uganda: A Pastoral People under Colonial Rule.” Journal of African History 3 (1962): 114-5.
  7. Barber, J. P. ” Karamoja in 1910.” Uganda Journal 28 (1964): 15-23.
  8. Barber, J. P. ” The Moving Frontier of British Colonialism in Northern Uganda, 1898-1919.” Uganda Journal 29 (1965): 27-43.
  9. Barber, J. P. Imperial Frontier. Nairobi: East African Publishing House, 1968.
  10. Battle, Vincent M. ” An Historical Analysis of Educational Development in Karamoja District.” Makerere Historical Journal 1 (1975): 65-83.
  11. Bell, W. D. M. Karamoja Safari. New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1964.
  12. Biellik, Robin J., and Peggy L. Henderson. “Mortality, Nutritional Status and Diet During the Famine in Karamoja, Uganda, 1980.” In Crisis in Uganda: The Breakdown of Health Services, edited by C. P. Dodge and P. E. Weibe, 145-54. New York: Pergamon Press, 1985.
  13. Brasnett, J. “The Karasuk Problem.” Uganda Journal 22 (1958): 113-22.
  14. Cisternino, Mario. “Famine and Food Relief in Karamoja.” In Crisis in Uganda: The Breakdown of Health Services, edited by C. P. Dodge and P. E. Weibe, 155-61. New York: Pergamon Press, 1985.
  15. Clark, Doris. ” Karamojong Age-Groups and Clans.” Uganda Journal 14 (1950): 215-8.
  16. Clark, Doris. ” A Karamojong Wedding.” Uganda Journal 16 (1952): 176-7.
  17. Clark, Doris. ” Memorial Service for an Ox.” Uganda Journal 16 (1952): 69-71.
  18. Clark, Doris. ” Death and Burial Ceremonies among the Karamojong.” Uganda Journal 17 (1953): 75-6.
  19. Cox, P. S. V. ” The Karamoja Health Service: A Proposed Revolution.” In Crisis in Uganda: The Breakdown of Health Services, edited by C. P. Dodge and P. D. Weibe, 171-5. New York: Pergamon Press, 1985.
  20. Crazzolara, J. P. “Notes on the Lango-Omiru and on the Labwor and Nyakwai.” Anthropos 55 (1960): 174-214.
  21. Deshler, W. “Livestock Tripanosomiasis and Human Settlement in Northeast Uganda.” Geographical Review 50 (1960): 541-54.
  22. Deshler, W. “Native Cattle Keeping in Eastern Africa.” In Man, Culture and Animals, 153-68. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1965.
  23. Dietz, Tom. “The State, the Market, and the Decline of Pastoralism: Challenging some Myths, with Evidence from Western Pokot in Kenya/Uganda.” In Conflict and the Deline of Pastoralism in the Horn of Africa, edited by J. Markakis, 83-99. London: Macmillan Press, 1993.
  24. Dochery, A. J. “The Karamojong and the Suk.” Uganda Journal 21 (1957): 30-40. A Bibliography of Karamoja, Uganda Michael D. Quam 4 EJAB, Volume 5, 1999
  25. Dodge, Cole P. “Uganda–Rehabilitation, or Redefinition of Health Services?” Social Science and

Medicine 22 (1986): 355-61.
28. Dodge, Cole P. “Health Implications of War in Uganda and Sudan.” Social Science and Medicine 31
(1990): 691-8.
29. Dyson-Hudson, Neville. “The Karimojong and the Suk.” Uganda Journal 22 (1958): 173-80.
30. Dyson-Hudson, V. R. “Men, Women and Work in a Pastoral Society.” Natural History 1960, 42- 57.
31. Dyson-Hudson, V. R. “East Coast Fever in Karamoja.” Uganda Journal 24 (1960): 253-9.
32. Dyson-Hudson, V. R. “A Nomad Ecology.” Paper presented at the The 10th Annual Conference of the
Philosophical Society of Sudan, Khartoum 1960.
33. Dyson-Hudson, Neville. “Factors Inhibiting Change in an African Pastoral Society.” Transactions of the
New York Academy of Sciences II, 24 (1962): 771-801.
34. Dyson-Hudson, Neville, and V. R. Dyson-Hudson. “Marriage Economy: The Karimojong.” Natural
History 1962, 44-53.
35. Dyson-Hudson, Neville. “The Karimojong Age System.” Ethnology 2 (1963): 353-401.
36. Dyson-Hudson, Neville. Karimojong Politics. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966.
37. Dyson-Hudson, V. R., and Neville Dyson-Hudson. “Subsistence Herding in Uganda.” Scientific
American, February 1969, 76-89.
38. Dyson-Hudson, V. R., and Neville Dyson-Hudson. “The Food Production System of a Semi-Nomadic
Society: The Karimojong, Uganda.” In African Food Production Systems, edited by P. F. M.
McLoughlin, 91-123. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1970.
39. Dyson-Hudson, V. R. “Pastoralism: Self-Image and Behavioral Reality.” Journal of Asian and African
Studies 7 (1972): 30-47.
40. Gartrell, Beverley. “Prelude to Disaster: The Case of Karamoja.” In The Ecology of Survival: Case
Studies from Northeast African History, edited by D. H. Johnson and D. M. Anderson, 193- 217.
Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1988.
41. Gourlay, K. A. “The Practice of Cueing among the Karimojong of North-East Uganda.”
Ethnomusicology 16 (1972): 240-7.
42. Gourlay, K. A. “The Ox and Identification.” Man n.s. 7 (1972): 244-54.
43. Gulliver, P. H. “The Karamojong Cluster.” Africa 22 (1952): 1-22.
44. Gulliver, P. H. “Bell-oxen and Ox Names among the Jie.” Uganda Journal 16 (1952): 72-5.
45. Gulliver, P. H. “Jie Marriage.” African Affairs 52 (1953): 149-55.
46. Gulliver, P. H. “The Population of Karamoja.” Uganda Journal 17 (1953): 179-85.
47. Gulliver, P. H. “The Age-set Organization of the Jie Tribe.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological
Institute 83 (1953): 147-68.
48. Gulliver, Pamela, and P. H. Gulliver. The Central Nilo-Hamites. London: International African Institute,
49. Gulliver, P. H. “Jie Agriculture.” Uganda Journal 18 (1954): 65-70.
A Bibliography of Karamoja, Uganda
Michael D. Quam 5 EJAB, Volume 5, 1999
50. Gulliver, P. H. “The Blood of the Karamojong.” Uganda Journal 18 (1954): 195-6.
51. Gulliver, P. H. The Family Herds: A Study of Two Pastoral Tribes in East Africa, the Jie and Turkana.
London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1955.
52. Gulliver, P. H. “The Teso and the Karamojong Cluster.” Uganda Journal 20 (1956): 213-15.
53. Gulliver, P. H. “Counting with the Fingers by Two East African Tribes.” Tanganyika Notes and Records
51 (1959): 259-62.
54. Gulliver, P. H. “The Jie of Uganda.” In Peoples of Africa, edited by J. L. Gibbs, 159-96. New York:
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965.
55. Heine, Bernd. The Kuliak Languages of Eastern Uganda. Nairobi: East African Publishing House, 1976.
56. Heine, Bernd. “The Mountain People: Some Notes on the Ik of North-Eastern Uganda.” Africa 55
(1985): 3-16.
57. Herring, Ralph S. “Centralization, Stratification, and Incorporation: Case Studies from Northeastern
Uganda.” Canadian Journal of African Studies 7 (1973): 497-514.
58. Knutsson, Karl-Eric. “Preparedness for Disaster Operations.” In Crisis in Uganda: The Breakdown of
Health Services, edited by C. P. Dodge and P. D. Weibe, 183-9. New York: Pergamon Press, 1985.
59. Lamphear, John, and J. B. Webster. “The Jie-Acholi War: Oral Evidence from Two Sides of the Battle
Front.” Uganda Journal 35 (1971): 23-42.
60. Lamphear, John. The Traditional History of the Jie of Uganda. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976.
61. Lamphear, John. “Historical Dimensions of Dual Organization: The Generation-Class System of the Jie
and the Turkana.” In The Attraction of Opposites: Thought and Society in the Dualistic Mode, edited by
D. Maybury-Lewis and U. Almagor, 235-54. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1989.
62. Lamphear, John. The Scattering Time: Turkana Responses to Colonial Rule. Oxford: Clarendon Press,
63. Lamphear, John. “The Evolution of Ateker “New Model” Armies.” In Ethnicity and Conflict in the Horn
of Africa, edited by F. Katsuyoshi and J. Markakis, 63-92. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1994.
64. Laughlin, Charles D., and Elizabeth R. Laughlin. “Kenisan: Economic and Social Ramifications of the
Ghost Cult among the So of North-eastern Uganda.” Africa 42 (1972): 9-20.
65. Laughlin, Charles D. “Maximization, Marriage and Residence among the So.” Canadian Review of
Sociology and Anthropology 10 (1973): 199-213.
66. Laughlin, Charles D. “Deprivation and Reciprocity.” Man 9 (1974): 380-96.
67. Laughlin, Charles D., and Elizabeth R. Laughlin. “Age Generations and Political Process in So.” Africa
44 (1974): 266-79.
68. Laughlin, Charles D. “Lexicostatistics and the Mystery of So Ethnolinguistic Relations.”
Anthropological Linguistics 17 (1975): 325-41.
69. Laughlin, Charles D., and Elizabeth R. Allgeier. An Ethnography of the So of Northeastern Uganda. 2
vols. New Haven, CT: HRAF Press, 1979.
70. Lawrence, J. C. D. “The Karamojong Cluster: A Note.” Africa 23 (1953): 244-9.
A Bibliography of Karamoja, Uganda
Michael D. Quam 6 EJAB, Volume 5, 1999
71. Mamdani, Mahmood, P. M. B. Kasoma, and A. B. Katende. “Karamoja: Ecology and History.” .
Kampala: Centre for Basic Research, 1992.
72. Muhereza, Frank Emmanuel, and Charles Emunyu Ocan. “Report of the Second CBR Pastoralism
Workshop on Pastoralism and Crisis in Karamoja.” Kampala: Centre for Basic Research, 1994.
73. Novelli, Bruno. A Grammar of the Karimojong Language. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1985.
74. Nsibambi, A., and F. Bayarugaba. “Problems of Political and Administrative Participation in a Semi-arid
Area of Uganda: A Case Study of Karamoja.” African Review 9, no. 2 (1982): 79-96.
75. Ocan, Charles Emunyu. “Pastoral Crisis in North-eastern Uganda: The Changing Significance of Cattle
Raids.” Kampala: Centre for Basic Research, 1992.
76. Ocan, Charles Emunyu. “Pastoralism and Crisis in North-eastern Uganda: Factors that Have Determined
Social Change in Karamoja.” Kampala: Centre for Basic Research, 1992.
77. Okudi, Ben. “Causes and Effects of the 1980 Famine in Karamoja.” Kampala: Centre for Basic
Research, 1992.
78. Oloka-Onyango, Joe, Gariyo Zie, and Frank Muhereza. “Pastoralism, Crisis and Transformation in
Karamoja.” Kampala: Centre for Basic Research, 1993.
79. Peristiany, J. G. “The Age-set System of the Pastoral Pakot.” Africa 21 (1951): 188-206, 279- 302.
80. Quam, Michael D. “Cattle Marketing and Pastoral Conservatism: Karamoja District, Uganda, 1948-
1970.” African Studies Review 21 (1978): 49-71.
81. Quam, Michael D. “Creating Peace in an Armed Society: Karamoja, Uganda, 1996.” African Studies
Quarterly 1, no. 1 (1997)
83. Rodhain, F., and et. al. “Arbovirus Infections and Viral Haemorraghic Fevers in Uganda: A Serological
Survey in Karamoja District, 1984.” Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and
Hygiene 83 (1989): 851-4.
84. Schneider, Harold K. “The Subsistence Role of Cattle among the Pokot and in East Africa.” American
Anthropologist 59 (1957): 278-300.
85. Spencer, Paul. “The Jie Generation Paradox.” In Age, Generation and Time: Some Features of East
African Age Organizations, edited by P. T. W. Baxter and U. Almagor, 133-49. London: C. Hurst &
Co., 1978.
86. Thomas, Elizabeth Marshall. Warrior Herdsmen. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965.
87. Tucker, A. N. “Notes on Ik.” African Studies 30, 31,32 (1971-73): 341-54, 183-201, 33-48.
88. Turnbull, Colin M. “The Ik: Alias the Teuso.” Uganda Journal 31 (1967): 63-71.
89. Turnbull, Colin M. The Mountain People. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.
90. Turpin, E. A. “The Occupation of the Turkwel River Area by the Karamojong Tribe.” Uganda Journal
12 (1948): 161-5.
91. Wabwire, Arnest. “Pastoral Crisis and Transformation: An Evaluation of the Role of Non-Governmental
Organizations in Karamoja.” Kampala: Centre for Basic Research, 1993.
A Bibliography of Karamoja, Uganda
Michael D. Quam 7 EJAB, Volume 5, 1999
92. Wayland, E. J. “Preliminary Studies of the Tribes of Karamoja (The Labwor, the Wanderobo, the
Dodotho and the Jie; with a note concerning the Karamojong).” Journal of the Royal Anthropological
Institute 61 (1931): 187-230.
93. Weatherby, John M. “A Preliminary Note on the Sorat (Tepeth).” Uganda Journal 33 (1969): 75- 78,
94. Weatherby, John M. “The Secret Spirit Cult of the Sor in Karamoja.” Africa 58 (1988): 210-28.
95. Wells, Melissa. “We Can Improve Relief Efforts–If We Try.” Ekistics 309 (1984): 501-6.
96. Wells, Melissa. “The Relief Operation in Karamoja: What Was Learned and What Needs Improvement.”
In Crisis in Uganda: The Breakdown of Health Services, edited by C. P. Dodge and P. D. Weibe, 177-
82. New York: Pergamon Press, 1985.
97. Wilson, John G. “Preliminary Observations on the Oropom Peoples of Karamoja.” Uganda Journal 34
(1970): 125-145.
98. Wilson, John G. “The Addition of Talc and Asbestos to Pot Clay by Past and Present Inhabitants of
Karamoja District in Uganda and Adjoining Districts of Kenya.” Man 8 (1973): 300-2.
99. Wilson, John G. “Resettlement in Karamoja.” In Crisis in Uganda: The Breakdown of Health Services,
edited by C. P. Dodge and P. D. Weibe, 163-70. New York: Pergamon Press, 1985.

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