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Robinson to Speak on his Research in Uganda on Africa's 'Lost White Tribe'
Michael Robinson, associate professor of history in Hillyer College, will give a talk on his recent trip to Uganda, where he conducted research for his next book, Lost White Tribe: Explorers, Scientists, and a Theory of Race that Changed Africa (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).
Robinson's lecture will take place on Monday, Feb. 25, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the KF Room in Mortensen Library. The program, which is free and open to all, is part of the University's International Week.
Please Note: Robinson will discuss his research and his upcoming lecture on the WNPR radio program, Where We Live, on Monday (Feb. 25). The show begins at 9 a.m. on WNPR (90.5 FM or www.wnpr.org).
Robinson's forthcoming book begins in 1876 in East Africa, where the journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley encountered four Africans whose light complexion and European features “aroused [his] curiosity to the highest pitch.” They came from the slopes of Gambaragara, a snow-capped mountain west of Lake Victoria. That such a towering range existed in the heart of equatorial Africa was astonishing enough. “But what gives it peculiar interest,” Stanley wrote, “is, that on its cold and lonely top dwell a people of an entirely distinct race, being white, like Europeans.
Stanley’s story had the ring of the fantastic about it, but was taken seriously by scientists, explorers, and the general public — and came to be supported by evidence ranging from the origin stories of the Hebrew Bible, the discovery of ancient ruins in Egypt and Zimbabwe, the kingship legends of African cultures, and the physical differences observed — by Stanley and many others — among African tribes. The existence of white tribes of Africa was a theory, defenders claimed, supported by many pillars. Lost White Tribe traces the rise and fall of this theory, the Hamitic Hypothesis, and the scientific expeditions that gave it life.
In his lecture on Feb. 25, Robinson will discuss his research, including his trip to the heart of the Rwenzori Mountains, where he spent eight days climbing Mt. Stanley with a Bakonzo guide and porters, recording what he could of the mountain, its people, and its legends.
You can read more about Robinson's recent trip to Uganda on his blog, timetoeatthedogs.com.