Todd Whitmore (PhD, University of Chicago), associate professor of theology, is also concurrent associate professor in anthropology and codirects the interdisciplinary minor in Catholic social tradition. Specializing in moral theology and Christian ethics, he uses ethnographic methods to raise theological questions such as how people can sustain hope in the midst of extreme poverty and armed conflict.
Since 2005, Whitmore has spent more than 18 months in camps for internally displaced persons (IDP) in Northern Uganda and Southern Sudan, where many of the region’s Acholi people fled their homes during the brutal conflict between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Ugandan government.
Two current projects originate in a question the Acholi posed during his research: “What are you going to do for us?”
In response, Whitmore cofounded a small nonprofit, PeaceHarvest, “which combines agricultural training and peacebuilding,” as well as replacing lost livestock. He also launched an oral history project, training interviewers and transcribing 350 hours of interviews with camp dwellers.
“Those who spent their time in the IDP camps [usually] remain voiceless,” Whitmore explains. He hopes publication of “Acholi Voices: Democratizing the War Testimony of Northern Uganda” will allow the Acholi to speak for themselves.
He is also working on a theological book project, “Gospel Mimesis: An Anthropological Theology.”
“My fieldwork has found many stories of Christian Acholi imitating Christ in their willingness to undertake risk for the sake of their neighbors,” Whitmore says.