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Lisa Smirl Prize for Best PhD 2012-13

last modified Feb 05, 2014 06:06 PM

Lisa Smirl Prize for

Best PhD 2012-13

Lindsay Scorgie-Porter


The Department of Politics and International Studies is delighted to announce the very first winner of the Lisa Smirl prize for the best PhD completed in POLIS during the year 2012-2013.

The prize is awarded to Lindsay Scorgie, for her thesis 'Ruwenzori Rebels: The Allied Democratic Forces Conflict in the Uganda-Congo Borderland'. The dissertation asked why an under-studied rebel movement in the Rwenzori borderlands in Uganda and Congo, the ADF, been so resilient. Unlike arguments that focus on regional power politics or Islamist networks, the dissertation shows how the ADF was able to maintain a deeply embedded position in the borderland through strategic operationalization of the area’s political, social, and economic networks, and manipulation of the space’s anti-state and liminal character. Her perspective enabled her to understand the ADF’s localised setting, while linking it to issues affecting borderlands on a global basis.

This work, accordingly to her examiners, "is an important and original study of a previously very poorly understood subject, conducted under research conditions of great difficulty, and demonstrating admirable balance and sound judgment".

We congratulate Lindsay, who is starting a post-doc at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, and also wish to remember the person in whose memory this award is offered. The Prize is named in memory of Lisa Smirl, who gained her PhD in the Department in 2010, but who died of cancer in February 2013.