Seminar « Readings and fieldworks in Sudan »
Barbara Casciarri (University Paris 8/LAVUE UMR 7218/CEDEJ) will present a seminar : « The Kababish Arabs, by Talal Asad 1970: the political anthropology of pastoral nomadism », on 10th June 2021, 10 am.
This seminar combines the reading of social sciences monographs on Sudan with reflections rooted in the experience of the research fields I conducted in this country between 1989 and today. As a first session, I propose to (re)read The Kababish Arabs, by Talal Asad (1970). This book is a major contribution to both modern anthropology of pastoralism and post-colonial Sudanese anthropology. It has renewed debates on political anthropology through deconstructing the myth of pastoral nomads’ egalitarianism. Inspired by political sociology and Marxism, supported by a deep ethnography matched with archival sources, Talal Asad illustrated processes of pastoral elites construction and the influence of British colonial Native Administration. By presenting this work and linking it with perspectives from my pastoral fieldworks, I also wish to focus on a “young” Talal Asad whose works on pastoralism are far less known than others on ideology, religion or secularism.