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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Arab Identity and Ideology in Sudan: The Politics of Language, Ethnicity, and Race
Author:Sharkey, Heather J.ISNI
Year:2008
Periodical:African affairs: the journal of the Royal African Society
Volume:107
Issue:426
Period:January
Pages:21-43
Language:English
Geographic term:Sudan
Subjects:Arabization
ethnic identity
Ethnic and Race Relations
nationalism
History and Exploration
Link:http://ejournals.ebsco.com/direct.asp?ArticleID=4A01A287FC13A8DC4171
Abstract:In what is now Sudan there occurred over the centuries a process of 'ta'rib', or Arabization, entailing the gradual spread of both Arab identity and the Arabic language among northern peoples. After the Anglo-Egyptian conquest of 1898, British colonial policies favoured a narrow elite from within these 'Arab' communities. Members of this elite went on to develop a conception of a self-consciously Sudanese Arabic national identity, in the process adapting the term 'Sudanese' ('sudani'), which derived from an Arabic word for blackness and previously had servile connotations. At decolonization in the 1950s, these nationalists turned 'ta'rib' into an official policy that sought to propagate Arabic quickly throughout a territory where scores of languages were spoken. This article considers the historical diffusion of Sudanese Arabic-language culture and Arab identity, contrasts this with the postcolonial policy of Arabization, and analyses the relevance of the latter for civil conflicts in Southern Sudan, the Nuba Mountains, and, more recently, Darfur. Far from spreading Arabness, Arabization policy sharpened non-Arab and, in some cases, self-consciously 'African' (implying culturally pluralist) identities. Arabization policy also accompanied, in some quarters, the growth of an ideology of Arab cultural and racial supremacy that is now most evident in Darfur. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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