Thesis: Complete

Dear readers, the time has come.

Yesterday, I handed in the final draft of my M.A. thesis in accordance with my degree requirements. I then promptly went home and fiddled with the headers and added an acknowledgements section, so really it’s doubly finished.

I didn’t have a senior thesis in college, just a slightly longer class paper. I also spent all of my senior spring in a high school classroom student teaching. Therefore, this is the first time I’ve had the just-finished-a-giant-project-and-am-about-to-graduate-what-do-I-do feeling. It’s kind of weird.

I first drafted grant proposals for my thesis in October/November 2012. I went to Uganda and the Congo in June 2013. I read a lot for my project between then and now, and talked about it a lot too. And here I am, May 2014, handing in a 150 page declaration that I think I know what I’m talking about.

I haven’t decided what to do with it just yet. I’ve spent the last six months stitching a bunch of disparate parts together, but I will inevitably crack it like an egg and try to make some scholarly omelettes out of it.

As for now, I have some papers to grade, and then I will busy myself with other kinds of tinkering since thesis-tinkering is a now fruitless hobby. But, I leave you with one common artifacts: the abstract. Hopefully it’ll pique your interest for things to come.

Radio’s Role in Reducing LRA Violence

and the Effects of Humanitarian Intervention

Abstract: When the LRA conflict began in northern Uganda, some actors sought to engage with the rebels by using the radio to communicate about opportunities to demobilize and return home. These efforts became a central part of local efforts to mitigate harm and protect civilians without endangering conscripted abductees in rebel ranks. When the rebel group moved across the border into northeastern D.R. Congo, international organizations implemented similar radio programs. In addition, they expanded a locally rooted radio early warning system used to help rural villages communicate with each other. Based on qualitative field research and interviews, this thesis addresses these two uses of radio as an effort to reduce violence in civil war and examines the role of international organizations such as Invisible Children and the U.S. military in the conflict. It also highlights the increasingly blurred divide between military actors and humanitarian NGOs, outlining the new terrain on which these organizations have tread in developing their response to the LRA conflict.

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