The spirit possession cult of zar tumbura has a devoted following among Muslim descendents of slaves and other subalterns in the Sudan. In Changing Masters, G. P. Makris studies zar tumbura as part of a wider zar complex for what it reveals about shifting ethnic identities in the modern Sudan. More generally, his work exposes the processes subordinate groups use to assert a positive identity that counters the identity conferred upon them by the dominant culture.
Makris engages the tumbura devotees of the area of Greater Khartoum in an animated discussion of their understanding of themselves and their world. Using oral histories, songs associated with the various spirits, and accounts of ceremonies he witnessed, he shows tumbura to be a response to victimization first in slavery and later by subordination. It functions as a counterdiscourse challenging the dominant discourse of the ex-slaveholding classes and enables its practitioners to assert a separate, alternative identity. This assertion, embodied in the idiom of possession, is achieved through a continuous reworking of meaning as it is imparted by religion, descent, and historical consciousness.
On July 9, 2011, South Sudan celebrated its independence as the world's newest nation, an occasion that the country's Christian leaders claimed had been foretold in the Book of Isaiah. The Bible provided a foundation through which the South Sudanese could distinguish themselves from the Arab and Muslim Sudanese to the north and understand themselves as a spiritual community now freed from their oppressors. Less than three years later, however, new conflicts emerged along ethnic lines within South Sudan, belying the liberation theology that had supposedly reached its climactic conclusion with independence. In Chosen Peoples, Christopher Tounsel investigates the centrality of Christian worldviews to the ideological construction of South Sudan and the inability of shared religion to prevent conflict. Exploring the creation of a colonial-era mission school to halt Islam's spread up the Nile, the centrality of biblical language in South Sudanese propaganda during the Second Civil War (1983--2005), and postindependence transformations of religious thought in the face of ethnic warfare, Tounsel highlights the potential and limitations of deploying race and Christian theology to unify South Sudan.
Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf University of Chicago Press, 2021 Library of Congress DT159.6.D27A32 2021 | Dewey Decimal 962.4043
The Darfur conflict exploded in early 2003 when two rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement, struck national military installations in Darfur to send a hard-hitting message of resentment over the region’s political and economic marginalization. The conflict devastated the region’s economy, shredded its fragile social fabric, and drove millions of people from their homes. Darfur Allegory is a dispatch from the humanitarian crisis that explains the historical and ethnographic background to competing narratives that have informed international responses. At the heart of the book is Sudanese anthropologist Rogaia Abusharaf’s critique of the pseudoscientific notions of race and ethnicity that posit divisions between “Arab” northerners and “African” Darfuris.
Elaborated in colonial times and enshrined in policy afterwards, such binary categories have been adopted by the media to explain the civil war in Darfur. The narratives that circulate internationally are thus highly fraught and cover over—to counterproductive effect—forms of Darfurian activism that have emerged in the conflict’s wake. Darfur Allegory marries the analytical precision of a committed anthropologist with an insider’s view of Sudanese politics at home and in the diaspora, laying bare the power of words to heal or perpetuate civil conflict.
Life's changes. They happen every day. Some large, some small. A few are very personal. Others impact the world. Dedicated to the People of Darfur: Writings on Fear, Risk, and Hope includes original and inspiring essays that celebrate the glories gained from taking risks, breaking down barriers, and overcoming any obstacles.
Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, a gallery of O.Henry award recipients, and many best-selling authors come together to share personal and compelling challenges and experiences. From contemplations on past drug use to reflections on gun control, social justice, passion and its sacrifices, and adventures such as skydiving, mountain climbing, and golfing, the topics vary greatly. This kaleidoscopic anthology is a commentary on the lives of prominent literary artists and ordinary citizens who have made simple, yet powerful choices that provoked change in one's self and for humanityùmuch the same way that Luke and Jennifer Reynolds do by building this invaluable collection for readers and the world of human rights.
Not too long ago, as struggling graduate students, Luke and Jennifer Reynolds conceived this uniquely themed volume as a way to raise funds to support ending the genocide in Darfur. Some people carry signs, others make speeches, many take action. What is most special about this book is that it extends beyond words and ideas, into a tangible effort to effect change. To this end, all royalties from the sales of Dedicated to the People of Darfur:Writings on Fear, Risk, and Hope will benefit The Save Darfur Coalition, an organization that seeks to end the genocide in Darfur, Sudan.
In the Red Sea Hills of eastern Sudan, where poverty, famines, and conflict loom large, women struggle to gain the status of responsible motherhood through bearing and raising healthy children, especially sons. But biological fate can be capricious in impoverished settings. Amidst struggle for survival and expectations of heroic mothering, women face realities that challenge their ability to fulfill their prescribed roles. Even as the effects of modernity and development, global inequities, and exclusionary government policies challenge traditional ways of life in eastern Sudan and throughout many parts of Africa, reproductive traumas—infertility, miscarriage, children’s illnesses, and mortality—disrupt women’s reproductive health and impede their efforts to achieve the status that comes with fertility and motherhood.
In Embodying Honor Amal Hassan Fadlalla finds that the female body is the locus of anxieties about foreign dangers and diseases, threats perceived to be disruptive to morality, feminine identities, and social well-being. As a “northern Sudanese” viewed as an outsider in this region of her native country, Fadlalla presents an intimate portrait and thorough analysis that offers an intriguing commentary on the very notion of what constitutes the “foreign.” Fadlalla shows how Muslim Hadendowa women manage health and reproductive suffering in their quest to become “responsible” mothers and valued members of their communities. Her historically grounded ethnography delves into women’s reproductive histories, personal narratives, and ritual logics to reveal the ways in which women challenge cultural understandings of gender, honor, and reproduction.
Bold, headstrong, and fabulously wealthy, Dutch traveller Alexine Tinne (1834–1869) made several excursions into the African interior, often accompanied by her mother, at a time when very few European women traveled. The Fateful Journey follows her trip with German zoologist Theodor von Heuglin, which took them through Egypt and Sudan in search of adventure and unknown regions in Central Africa.. Drawing upon four years of research in the Tinne archives, and including never before published correspondence, photographs, and other documents, Robert Joost Willink presents a compelling account of their journey and its tragic ending. This exciting volume not only sheds light on Tinne’s life and times, it also offers captivating insights into the world of European adventurers in the 19th century.
An enthralling mix of adventure and careful scholarship, The Fateful Journey creates a powerful portrait of Alexine Tinne throughout her life, from her start as a rich heiress in the Netherlands to her end as the intrepid explorer who risked—and lost—everything on a daring, doomed quest.
Drawing on extensive research and personal accounts, this hard-hitting study investigates the processes of mobilization and demobilization of fighters from all factions during the long, drawn out civil war in Sudan. Through in-depth interviews with current and former combatants in Sudan Saskia Baas investigates how civilians get drawn into the conflict and what the deep consequences are for becoming part of a guerilla movement. The resulting narrative is fascinating and disturbing, while providing vivid insight into the dynamics of civil war that are relevant to conflicts all over the world. From Civilians to Soldiers and from Soldiers to Civilians will appeal to political scientists, military historians, and nonacademic audiences interested in the conflict in Sudan.
"Brilliant and intimate. The book is an eloquent rendition of the expansive spatial abstractions and mimetic revolutionary re-imagination it proposes." -Social and Cultural Geography
Growing Up Global examines the processes of development and global change through the perspective of children’s lives in two seemingly disparate places: New York City and a village in northern Sudan. At the book’s core is a longitudinal ethnographic study of children growing up in a Sudanese village that was included in a large state-sponsored agricultural program in the year they were born. It follows a small number of children intermittently from ten years of age to early adulthood, concentrating particularly on their work and play, which together trained the children for an agrarian life centered around the family, a life that was quickly becoming obsolete.
Shifting her focus to largely working-class families in New York City in the 1980s and 1990s, Katz is able to expose unsuspected connections with the Sudanese experience in the effects on children of a constantly changing, capitalist environment—the decline of manufacturing jobs and the increase in knowledge-based jobs—in which young people with few skills and stunted educations face bleak employment prospects. In teasing out how “development” transforms the grounds on which these young people come of age, Cindi Katz provides a textured analysis of the importance of knowledge in the ability of people, families, and communities to reproduce themselves and their material social practices over time.
A Muslim scholar with extensive experience in Africa, T. Abdou Maliqalim Simone was recruited by the Islamic fundamentalist Shari‘a Movement in Sudan to act as consultant for its project to unite Muslims and non-Muslims in Khartoum's shanty towns. Based on his interviews with hundreds of individuals during this time, plus extensive historical and archival research, In Whose Image? is a penetrating examination of the use of Islam as a tool for political transformation.
Drawing a detailed portrait of political fundamentalism during the 1985-89 period of democratic rule in the Sudan, Simone shows how the Shari‘a Movement attempted to shape a viable social order by linking religious integrity and economic development, where religious practice was to dominate all aspects of society and individuals' daily lives. However, because Sudanese society is remarkably diverse ethnically and religiously, this often led to conflict, fragmentation, and violence in the name of Islam.
Simone's own Islamic background leads him to deplore the violence and the devastating psychological, economic, and cultural consequences of one form of Islamic radicalism, while holding to hope that a viable form of this inherently political religion can in fact be applied. As a counterpoint, he ends with a discussion of South Africa's Call of Islam, which seeks political unity through a more tolerant interpretation of Islam.
As an introduction to religious discourse in Africa, this book will be widely read by students and scholars throughout African Studies, Religious Studies, Anthropology, and Political Science.
Steve Howard departed for the Sudan in the early 1980s as an American graduate student beginning a three-year journey in which he would join and live with the Republican Brotherhood, the Sufi Muslim group led by the visionary Mahmoud Mohamed Taha. Taha was a religious intellectual who participated in the early days of Sudan’s anticolonial struggle, but quickly turned his movement into a religious reform effort based on his radical reading of the Qur’an. He was executed in 1985 for apostasy.
Decades after returning to the life of an academic in the United States, Howard brings us this memoir of his time with the Republican Brotherhood, who advocated, among other things, equality for women. Modern Muslims describes Howard’s path to learning not only about Islam and Sufism but also about Sudan’s history and culture. When the Brotherhood was thrust into confrontation with Sudan’s then-president Jaafar Nimeiry, Howard had a front-line perspective on the difficult choices communities make as they try to reform and practice their faith freely.
As well as a story of personal transformation, the book offers an insider’s perspective on a modernist nonviolent Islamic movement that thrived and was brutally suppressed. An important book for our times, Modern Muslims yields significant insights for our understanding of modern Islam, African history, and contemporary geopolitics.
From gummy bears to watercolors to fireworks, many everyday products contain traces of Sudanese plants. With more than four thousand diverse species of flora in the Republic of Sudan and the recently seceded Republic of South Sudan, they cover a vast area of tropical northeast Africa, from the hyper-arid desert in the north to the rainforest and extensive wetlands in the south. The Plants of Sudan and South Sudan is the first comprehensive look at the plants of this region and includes nearly every known species. Each entry includes accepted scientific names, relevant synonymy, and brief habitat notes, as well as both global and regional distribution data. Also featured is a list of globally threatened plant species, their habitats, and their distribution within the region, which offers conservationists, land management agencies, and governmental departments key information on potential conservation priorities. This book will be the baseline reference for all future botanical and conservation work in the Sudan region.
Public Documents from Sinnar
Jay Spaulding Michigan State University Press, 1989 Library of Congress KTQ144.P83 1989 | Dewey Decimal 348.624025
This selection of Arabic and English translations illuminates the changes of eighteenth-century government in the northern Nile Valley of Sudan, and provides reliable chronological points of reference for the history of the region.
The documents offered in this volume, including charter grants of land and privilege, administrative letters, judicial rulings, and other official government records, date form 1702 to 1820. This period marks the apogee of the wealth, power, and geographical extent of the realm of the Funji kings of Sinnar who reigned over much of the Sudan from about 1500 until the Turkish colonial conquest of 1821.
These records document with concrete precision and eloquence the dissolution of the agrarian social order of an old African kingdom under the corroding influence of intrusive Mediterranean commercial practices and culture. They reveal the Sudan's legacy of a traditionally weak government vulnerable to manipulation or conquest by foreign powers and a divided and impoverished society dominated by a minority of urban interests.
Winston Churchill wrote five books before he was elected to Parliament at the age of twenty-five. The most impressive of these books, The River War tells the story of Britain’s arduous and risky campaign to reconquer the Sudan at the end of the nineteenth century. More than half a century of subjection to Egypt had ended a decade earlier when Sudanese Dervishes rebelled against foreign rule and killed Britain’s envoy Charles Gordon at his palace in Khartoum in 1885. Political Islam collided with European imperialism. Herbert Kitchener’s Anglo-Egyptian army, advancing hundreds of miles south along the Nile through the Sahara Desert, defeated the Dervish army at the battle of Omdurman on September 2, 1898.
Churchill, an ambitious young cavalry officer serving with his regiment in India, had already published newspaper columns and a book about fighting on the Afghan frontier. He yearned to join Kitchener’s campaign. But the general, afraid of what he would write about it, refused to have him. Churchill returned to London. With help from his mother and the prime minister, he managed to get himself attached to an English cavalry regiment sent to strengthen Kitchener’s army. Hurriedly travelling to Egypt, Churchill rushed upriver to Khartoum, catching up with Kitchener’s army just in time to take part in the climactic battle. That day he charged with the 21st Lancers in the most dangerous fighting against the Dervish host.
He wrote fifteen dispatches for the Morning Post in London. As Kitchener had expected, Churchill’s dispatches and his subsequent book were highly controversial. The precocious officer, having earlier seen war on two other continents, showed a cool independence of his commanding officer. He even resigned from the army to be free to write the book as he pleased. He gave Kitchener credit for his victory but found much to criticize in his character and campaign.
Churchill’s book, far from being just a military history, told the whole story of the Egyptian conquest of the Sudan and the Dervishes’ rebellion against imperial rule. The young author was remarkably even-handed, showing sympathy for the founder of the rebellion, Muhammad Ahmed, and for his successor the Khalifa Abdullahi, whom Kitchener had defeated. He considered how the war in northeast Africa affected British politics at home, fit into the geopolitical rivalry between Britain and France, and abruptly thrust the vast Sudan, with the largest territory in Africa, into an uncertain future in Britain’s orbit.
In November 1899, The River War was published in “two massive volumes, my magnum opus (up to date), upon which I had lavished a whole year of my life,” as Churchill recalled later in his autobiography. The book had twenty-six chapters, five appendices, dozens of illustrations, and colored maps. Three years later, in 1902, it was shortened to fit into one volume. Seven whole chapters, and parts of every other chapter, disappeared in the abridgment. Many maps and most illustrations were also dropped. Since then the abridged edition has been reprinted regularly, and eventually it was even abridged further. But the full two-volume book, which is rare and expensive, was never published again—until now.
St. Augustine’s Press, in collaboration with the International Churchill Society, brings back to print in two handsome volumes The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan unabridged, for the first time since 1902. Every chapter and appendix from the first edition has been restored. All the maps are in it, in their original colors, with all the illustrations by Churchill’s brother officer Angus McNeill.
More than thirty years in the making, under the editorship of James W. Muller, this new edition of The River War will be the definitive one for all time. The whole book is printed in two colors, in black and red type, to show what Churchill originally wrote and how it was abridged or altered later. For the first time, a new appendix reproduces Churchill’s Sudan dispatches as he wrote them, before they were edited by the Morning Post. Other new appendices reprint Churchill’s subsequent writings on the Sudan. Thousands of new footnotes have been added to the book by the editor, identifying Churchill’s references to people, places, writings, and events unfamiliar to readers today. Professor Muller’s new introduction explains how the book fits into Churchill’s career as a writer and an aspiring politician. He examines the statesman’s early thoughts about war, race, religion, and imperialism, which are still our political challenges in the twenty-first century.
Half a century after The River War appeared, this book was one of a handful of his works singled out by the Swedish Academy when it awarded Churchill the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953. Now, once again, its reader can follow Churchill back to the war he fought on the Nile, beginning with the words of his youngest daughter. Before she died, Mary Soames wrote a new foreword, published here, which concludes that “In this splendid new edition…we have, in effect, the whole history of The River War as Winston Churchill wrote it—and it makes memorable reading.”
Africa’s newest nation has a long history. Often considered remote and isolated from the rest of Africa, and usually associated with the violence of slavery and civil war, South Sudan has been an arena for a complex mixing of peoples, languages, and beliefs. The nation’s diversity is both its strength and a challenge as its people attempt to overcome the legacy of decades of war to build a new economic, political, and national future.
Most recent studies of South Sudan’s history have a foreshortened sense of the past, focusing on current political issues, the recently ended civil war, or the ongoing conflicts within the country and along its border with Sudan. This brief but substantial overview of South Sudan’s longue durée, by one of the world’s foremost experts on the region, answers the need for a current, accessible book on this important country.
Drawing on recent advances in the archaeology of the Nile Valley, new fieldwork as well as classic ethnography, and local and foreign archives, Johnson recovers South Sudan’s place in African history and challenges the stereotypes imposed on its peoples.
Over twenty years of civil war in predominantly Christian Southern Sudan has forced countless people from their homes. Transforming Displaced Women in Sudan examines the lives of women who have forged a new community in a shantytown on the outskirts of Khartoum, the largely Muslim, heavily Arabized capital in the north of the country.
Sudanese-born anthropologist Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf delivers a rich ethnography of this squatter settlement based on personal interviews with displaced women and careful observation of the various strategies they adopt to reconstruct their lives and livelihoods. Her findings debunk the myth that these settlements are utterly abject, and instead she discovers a dynamic culture where many women play an active role in fighting for peace and social change. Abusharaf also examines the way women’s bodies are politicized by their displacement, analyzing issues such as religious conversion, marriage, and female circumcision.
An urgent dispatch from the ongoing humanitarian crisis in northeastern Africa, Transforming Displaced Women in Sudan will be essential for anyone concerned with the interrelated consequences of war, forced migration, and gender inequality.
Western Bahr al-Ghazal is perhaps one of the least known places in Africa. Yet this remote part of the Republic of Sudan can be regarded as a historical barometer, registering major developments in the history of the Nile valley. In the nineteenth century the region became one of the most active slave-exporting zones in Africa. The area is distinguished from the rest of southern Sudan by its veneer of Muslim influence and an Arabic pidgin. British officials regarded it as a Muslim enclave and in the twentieth century, western Bahr al-Ghazal became a laboratory in which the British colonial administration applied one of its most controversial policies in the Sudan, the so-called Southern Policy.
Several decades of colonial rule failed to establish any significant links between the western Bahr al-Ghazal and the world economy. It is hoped that this book will contribute to the understanding of the general impact of colonialism on rural societies in the southern Sudan and the roots of their underdevelopment.
Based on nearly two years of ethnographic fieldwork in a Muslim village in northern Sudan, Wombs and Alien Spirits explores the zâr cult, the most widely practiced traditional healing cult in Africa. Adherents of the cult are usually women with marital or fertility problems, who are possessed by spirits very different from their own proscribed roles as mothers. Through the woman, the spirit makes demands upon her husband and family and makes provocative comments on village issues, such as the increasing influence of formal Islam or encroaching Western economic domination. In accommodating the spirits, the women are able metaphorically to reformulate everyday discourse to portray consciousness of their own subordination.
Janice Boddy examines the moral universe of the village, discussing female circumcision, personhood, kinship, and bodily integrity, then describes the workings of the cult and the effect of possession on the lives of men as well as women. She suggests that spirit possession is a feminist discourse, though a veiled and allegorical one, on women's objectification and subordination. Additionally, the spirit world acts as a foil for village life in the context of rapid historical change and as such provides a focus for cultural resistance that is particularly, though not exclusively, relevant to women.