Dr Cherry Leonardi
Cherry Leonardi specialises in African history with a particular research focus on South Sudan and northern Uganda. She is currently working on a new project titled 'Bush Wars? Conservation, Conflict and Cultures of Nature in South Sudan and Northern Uganda, c. 1840–2020' and held a Carson Fellowship at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich in 2020.
Her book Dealing with Government in South Sudan: Histories of Chiefship, Community and State (James Currey, 2013: http://www.boydellandbrewer.com/store/viewItem.asp?idProduct=14224) is the result of a doctoral and postdoctoral research project funded by the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust, the British Institute in Eastern Africa and the British Academy. In 2010 she held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship and in 2009-10 she was the lead researcher and author of a report on local justice in South Sudan for the US Institute of Peace and the Rift Valley Institute.
She then worked on a project on land governance and boundary disputes in South Sudan and northern Uganda which led to a publication co-authored with Martina Santschi in the Rift Valley Institute's Contested Borderlands series: Dividing Communities in South Sudan and Northern Uganda: Boundary Disputes and Land Governance (2016), freely available at http://riftvalley.net/publication/dividing-communities-south-sudan-and-northern-uganda#.WBx3Vk9vjIU, a special issue of Critical African Studies on 'Valuing Land in Eastern Africa' and an article in Past & Present (2020).
Recent research includes an AHRC/ESRC-funded collaborative project led by Dr Jonathan Fisher (Birmingham) on narratives around witchcraft and insecurity in the South Sudan-Uganda borderlands (2016-18), and an AHRC Research Networking Programme with Dr Zoe Cormack on South Sudanese Museum Collections in Europe (2017-18) which led to an edited collection Pieces of a Nation (sidestone.com). She was also a co-investigator on an ESRC/DFID Development Frontiers research project: 'Energy on the Move: longitudinal perspectives on energy transitions among marginal populations', led by Dr Ben Campbell in Durham's anthropology department.
Cherry welcomes enquiries from students and researchers about South Sudan and other topics in African history including colonial governance, local and traditional authority, armed conflict, customary justice, land governance and boundaries and borderlands. Her research on South Sudan benefits from the extensive Sudan Archive in Durham (https://www.dur.ac.uk/library/asc/sudan/), which is also an excellent resource for undergraduate and postgraduate research. She maintains active links with academic and non-academic bodies working in or on South Sudan and the wider eastern Africa region.
Department of History
- Cormack, Zoe & Leonardi, Cherry (2021). PIECES OF A NATION: South Sudanese Heritage and Museum Collections. Sidestone Press.
- Leonardi, Cherry (2013). Dealing with Government in South Sudan: histories of chiefship, community and state. Woodbridge, Suffolk: James Currey.
Chapter in book
- Leonardi, Cherry (2018). Mixing oil and water? Colonial state justice and the challenge of witchcraft accusations in central Equatoria, Southern Sudan. In The State and the Paradox of Customary Law in Africa. Zenker, Olaf & Hoehne, Markus Virgil Routledge. 87-108.
- Leonardi, Cherry & Vaughan, Chris (2016). "We are oppressed and our only way is to write to higher authority” the politics of claim and complaint in the peripheries of Condominium Sudan. In Citizenship, Belonging, and Political Community in Africa: Dialogues between Past and Present. Hunter, Emma Ohio: Ohio University Press. 74-100.
- Cherry Leonardi (2013). The power of cultures and the cultures of power: John MacKenzie and the study of imperialism. In Writing Imperial Histories. Andrew S Thompson Manchester University Press. 49-73.
- Leonardi, Cherry & Abdul Jalil, Musa (2011). Traditional authority, local government and justice. In The Sudan Handbook. Ryle, John, Willis, Justin, Baldo, Suliman & Jok Madut Jok Woodbridge: James Currey. 108-121.
- Fisher, Jonathan & Leonardi, Cherry (2020). Insecurity and the invisible: The challenge of spiritual (in)security. Security Dialogue
- Leonardi, Cherry (2020). Patchwork States: the localization of state territoriality on the South Sudan-Uganda border, 1914-2014. Past & Present 248(1): 209-258.
- Leonardi, Cherry & Browne, Adrian J. (2018). Introduction: valuing land in Eastern Africa. Critical African Studies 10(1): 1-13.
- Leonardi, Cherry (2015). Points of order? Local government meetings as negotiation tables in South Sudanese history. Journal of Eastern African Studies 9(4): 650-668.
- Rolandsen, Øystein H. & Leonardi, Cherry (2014). Discourses of violence in the transition from colonialism to independence in southern Sudan, 1955–1960. Journal of Eastern African Studies 8(4): 609-625.
- Leonardi, Cherry (2013). South Sudanese Arabic and the negotiation of the local state, c. 1840-2011. Journal of African History 54(3): 351-372
- Leonardi, Cherry (2011). Paying 'buckets of blood' for the land: moral debates over economy, war and state in Southern Sudan. Journal of Modern African Studies 49(2): 215-240.
- Leonardi, Cherry, Isser, Deborah, Moro, Leben & Santschi, Martina (2011). The politics of customary law ascertainment in South Sudan. Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law 63: 111-142.
- Leonardi, Cherry (2009). Local justice and power of an official nature in Southern Sudan. Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals 87: 65-93.
- Leonardi, Cherry (2007). 'Liberation' or Capture? Youth in between 'hakuma' and 'home' during civil war and its aftermath in Southern Sudan. African Affairs 106(424): 391-412.
- Leonardi, Cherry (2007). The Poison in the Ink Bottle: Poison cases and the moral economy of knowledge in 1930s Equatoria, Sudan. Journal of Eastern African Studies 1(1): 34-56.
- Leonardi, Cherry (2007). Violence, sacrifice and chiefship in Central Equatoria, Southern Sudan. Africa 77(4): 535-558.
- Leonardi, Cherry (2003). Laying the first course of stones: building the London Missionary Society Church in Madagascar, 1862-1895. International Journal of African Historical Studies 3: 607-633.
- Leonardi, Cherry (2019). Making Order Out of Disorder: Customary authority in South Sudan. Rift Valley Institute.
- Leonardi, Cherry & Santschi, Martina (2016). Dividing Communities in South Sudan and Northern Uganda: boundary disputes and land governance. Rift Valley Institute.
- Leonardi, Cherry, Moro, Leben Nelson, Santschi, Martina & Isser, Deborah (2010). Local Justice in Southern Sudan. Washington D.C., United States Institute of Peace and the Rift Valley Institute.