World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th – 24th 2010

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Can Sudan Survive? : Examining the Historical Roots of the ''New Sudan'' (346) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED date: THU 22, 2.30-4.30 pm

· NOT_DEFINED institution: University of Chiba / IAMES (Japan)

· NOT_DEFINED organizer: Yoshiko Kurita

· NOT_DEFINED sponsor: International Association of Middle Eastern Studies (IAMES)

· NOT_DEFINED language: English

· NOT_DEFINED description: No one can deny that Sudan (the Republic of Sudan) today is passing through its most critical historical stage. Appalling social and economic injustices accumulated since independence have led not only to the suppression of democratic rights in the North but also to the “marginalization” of areas such the South and Darfur, and, as a result, now the very existence of “Sudan” as a territorial and political unit is being challenged. An underlying cause of the crisis is the fact that the present Sudanese state, even 54 years after its independence, still remains an “Old Sudan”, i.e. a colonial state which has inherited the economic and political structures essentially shaped under colonial rule (such as unbalanced development and authoritarian state power ). This panel is aimed, firstly, at analyzing these historical and colonial roots of the present crisis. At the same time, however, there have been efforts on the part of the Sudanese people to overcome the economic and political structures of the “Old Sudan” and to re-build their state on a completely new basis, i.e. as a “New Sudan” based on balanced development, democracy, and respect for the rights of the hitherto “marginalized” groups. It is noteworthy that, although the concept of the “New Sudan” itself is a relatively recent one (it was first articulated by the SPLM in the 1980s), popular struggles based on the same ideas have been always there, even since the 19th century and the early 20th century. The second aim of this panel is to examine these historical and popular roots of the “New Sudan”, locate them properly in context, and explore the possibilities of their future development.

Chair: Yoshiko Kuirta (IAMES, Japan)

Paper presenter: Taisier Mohamed A. Ali (IAMES, Japan), “Sudan: the Deepening Crisis of a State Lacking a National Project”
Attempts to unearth the extent as well as root causes of the present crisis, based on the analysis of the cruel realities of underdevelopment in post-independence Sudan. Comparing the Sudanese case with the two most horrendous African catastrophes (i.e. Rwanda and Somalia) and analyzing the ethnical and religious dimensions of the problem, it seeks to locate the Sudanese crisis in a broader context and assess its likely implications for the region as well.

Paper presenter: Ahmad Sikainga (IAMES, Japan), “Marginal Groups and the Making of the “New Sudan” sheds a light on the historical roots of marginalization in Sudan”
Examines not only the condition of the marginalized areas such as the South and the West but also the plight of the “marginalized masses” inside the North (such as the urban lower classes), this paper demonstrates how the legacy of British colonial rule (such as the labour policy based on the idea of “racial” classification of labour force) continues to affect Sudanese society. The paper further examines the attempts on the part of the marginal groups to construct new identities, and analyzes meaning of the “New Sudan” for these groups.

Paper presenter: Elena Vezzadini (IAMES, Japan), “Ideology, Ethnicity and National Identity in the 1924 Revolution, Sudan”
Is an attempt to re-examine the experiences of the Sudanese nationalism. The 1924 Revolution was the first anti-colonial movement in the Sudan which employed an explicitly “nationalist” ideology. Fighting for the liberation of Sudan from colonial rule, the revolution was also aimed at the creation of the “Sudanese nation” inclusive of all the Sudanese, irrespective of their ethnic origins. It was a truly rainbow movement, from its leadership to its general supporters, although its inclusive approach was not unproblematic and proved sometimes contradictory and ambiguous. The paper explores the question of the connections between ideology and ethnic composition, analyzing the way in which the leaders of this nationalist movement understood ethnic and status differences , and how this understanding , in its turn, affected their concept of nation and their struggle for national liberation.

Paper presenter: Douglas H. Johnson (IAMES, Japan), “New Sudan or South Sudan: The Practical Choices between Unity and Independence”
Presents a viewpoint from the South, examining the experiences of the South since Sudan’s independence, the paper analyses why the choice of “unity” has become so un-attractive and un-realistic for the southern Sudanese today. Twenty-two years of civil war have, ironically, integrated the South more firmly into the East African regional economy, increasing its potential viability as a state. Stressing that the self-determination for the South is the only way to resolve the present crisis, the paper points out, at the same time, it does not resolve al issues of the war and will bring new problems, particularly to the newly created border areas between the North and the South.