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A Civil Society Deferred

The Tertiary Grip of Violence in the Sudan

Abdullahi A. Gallab

Publication Year: 2011

A Civil Society Deferred chronicles the socio-political history and development of violence in the Sudan and explores how it has crippled the state, retarded the development of a national identity, and ravaged the social and material life of its citizens. It offers the first detailed case studies of the development of both a colonial and postcolonial Sudanese state and grounds the violence that grips the country within the conflict between imperial rule and a resisting civil society.

Abdullahi Gallab establishes his discussion around three forms of violence: decentralized (individual actors using targets as a means to express a particular grievance); centralized (violence enacted illegitimately by state actors); and "home-brewed" (violence among local actors toward other local actors). The Turkiyya, the Mahdiyya, the Anglo-Egyptian, and the postcolonial states have all taken each of these forms to a degree never before experienced. The same is true for the various social and political hierarchies in the country, the Islamists, and the opposing resistance groups and liberation movements.

These dichotomies have led to the creation of a political center that has sought to extend power and exploit the margins of Sudanese society. Drawing from academic, archival, and a variety of oral and written material, as well as personal experience, Gallab offers an original examination of identity and social formation in the region.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix-xviii

I know, of course, the Sudanese state. As a citizen, a journalist, a government employee, and a scholar, I have written extensively and shared ideas, criticism, and images with readers, scholars, other Sudanese, and non-Sudanese intellectuals and friends. ...

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pp. xix-xxi

This study has taken decades of exploration and inquiries, extensive visits to villages and cities in the Sudan, field research, a very close look at the state structure, interviews with scholars, politicians, and state workers, and long visits to the metropolis of the center, periphery, and semi-periphery of the old colonial system that connected Cairo and Khartoum to London. This lifelong journey has profoundly influenced my ...

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A Note on Transliteration

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pp. xxiii

For the transliteration of Arabic and Sudanese terms and names of people, places, and institutions I have followed a simple style based on The Chicago Manual Style and the International Journal of Middle East Studies. However, Arabic words and names that appear frequently in English, such as ...

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1. The Sociopolitical Construction of a Country

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pp. 1-22

The assumption that the name Sudan is an expression of its people’s identity, color, or racial construction is a crucial misconception. There is more to the Sudanese experience in its complexity than meets the eye and what color alone can capture. The multiple names others have applied to the country, however, raise a difficult sociopolitical and intellectual ...

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2. Constructing New Identities

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pp. 23-41

The sociopolitical construction of the newborn twentieth-century Sudan has been marked by a series of serious events as well as long and complex processes. These include violent forms of domination and subjugation, which, like a malignant brain tumor, provoked the immune responses of various forms of resistance and change. These patterns have worked ...

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3. The Malignant Tumor of the Colonial State: The Antibodies

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pp. 42-65

In his last poem, A˙med wad Sa'd, the greatest of the Mahdiyya bards (mudda˙) painted an extravagant picture of the time, the society, and the state he admired the most, bemoaning its end in a prophetic, apocalyptic vision full of affectionate intensity. After lamenting the demise of the great society of the Mahdiyya, he grieved over its brutal obliteration. In ...

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4. A Tale of Three Cities: Khartoum

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pp. 66-87

The colonial communities of conversation in the Sudan, their regime, and its new disciplinary order emerged not only to put down all forms of resistance in the Sudan but also to establish a new state as “a corporate institution,”1 firmly connected to the British mini-imperial system. Builders of that system and of the colonial state in the Sudan came of age ...

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5. A Tale of Three Cities: Omdurman

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pp. 88-113

Opposite the new colonial capital at Khartoum, on the west bank of the Nile, “defying it across the Nile lay Omdurman—the Mahdi’s bastion, ‘the Orient,’ Islam.”1 For the invading army and its every wish, “the name is like the groan of a great gong rolling mournfully across the desert; a sound redolent of all the mystery of Arabia; of shadowy ...

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6. A Tale of Three Cities: Cairo

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pp. 114-138

The rise and fall of Omdurman involves the complexity of Cairo’s destiny in the last two centuries. Between 1821 and 1956, Cairo took center stage in Sudanese life. Within its multilayered political, cultural, and ideological character and content, which influenced the state of affairs in the Sudan, these events’ developments substantially transformed Cairo itself. ...

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7. The Creation of the Center

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pp. 139-163

What the Sudanese sometimes call, by way of euphemism, the center, the north, the south, the west, and the margin of their country, were all entities created within certain imagined spaces, populated by imagined and real human communities. Each of these spaces has been carrying differentiated labels—sketched in general assumptions—that vary, stockpile, ...

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8. The Creation of the Margin

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pp. 164-185

The theme of the margin and of marginalization has an enduring hold on the contemporary Sudanese discourse. As a central concern for different Sudanese political and social groups and individuals, this theme spread like wildfire through scholarship, media, and everyday language. It developed its own proponents and practitioners. No one disagrees as ...

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pp. 186-194

“Hurrah Mahdism finished,” cabled a jubilant Francis Reginald Wingate to his wife on November 24, 1899. However, Wingate lived in the Sudan as one of the long-reigning rulers of the country for long enough to discover that was merely wishful thinking. Kitchener, Wingate, and their army could justifiably say that they successfully defeated the Mahdist ...

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Epilogue. A Missed Opportunity

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pp. 195-196

A referendum took place in the southern part of the Sudan from January 9 to 15, 2011, on the future status of the southern region whether to remain part of a united Sudan or secede as a separate country. The referendum was one of the consequences of the 2005 Naivasha or Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Islamist ruling National ...


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pp. 197-199


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pp. 201-219


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pp. 220-231


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pp. 232-239

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About the Author

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Abdullahi A. Gallab, assistant professor of African and African American studies and religious studies at Arizona State University, is the author of ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780813040738
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813036885
Print-ISBN-10: 0813036887

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2011