Archives de catégorie : Transient students and researchers

Vladimir Cayol: Scientific assistant and intern in CEDEJ

Vladimir Cayol holds a master’s degree in the field of Africa and the Middle East and International Cooperation from the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. He has been an intern in CEDEJ Khartoum where he has been assisting the coordinator with administrative tasks, and also working on migration issues from September 2017 to April 2018. He started working on this topic in EHESS while writing a research paper on the migration of Soninke people for his master’s degree in Anthropology.

In Sudan, his researches focused on the European Union’s migration policies and more specifically on the implementation of the European Union Trust Fund. This financial tool, which was financed by 3.4 Billion euros, aims at “addressing root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement”, protecting migrants along the migratory roads, and fighting against criminal networks which organize illegal migration. Vladimir organized a seminar at CEDEJ to present his work.

Transient student in CEDEJ Khartoum – Max MUNCH

CEDEJ Khartoum is currently hosting Max Münch, a student in Anthropology at the University of Bayreuth. For his Master’s thesis, he conducted three months of fieldwork in a Quranic school in Northern Kordofan. In an immersive process, the research was based upon the multi-sensorial focal points of didactics, socialization and embodied knowledge. He participated in the daily learning routine to get access to the social and experiential ways of teaching, learning and knowing.

© Max Munch

Ester Serra Mingot’s PhD research on “Transnational Social Protection. How Sudanese migrants in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom and their families in Sudan make use of social protection, locally and transnationally”

CV_picEster Serra Mingot

title/affiliation: PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in Maastricht University


In Sudan, CEDEJ Khartoum will support her fieldwork. Continuer la lecture de Ester Serra Mingot’s PhD research on “Transnational Social Protection. How Sudanese migrants in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom and their families in Sudan make use of social protection, locally and transnationally”

Ongoing Research : Matthew Steele

Matthew Steele is a Ph.D student in Islamic Studies at Harvard University.  He researches jurisprudence and knowledge production in West and North Africa, with a particular focus on the intellectual history, texts, and communities that shaped legal scholarship from the 18th to early 20th centuries.  Matthew has previously conducted fieldwork in Yemen, Morocco, Mauritania, and Senegal.  He received his undergraduate degree at Swarthmore College and Master’s degree at Dartmouth College, where his work on customary law in Yemen was awarded the outstanding graduate thesis of 2012.

In Sudan, Matthew is serving as a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Khartoum’s Department of Islamic Studies for the 2014/2015 academic year.  His current research project considers the development of Maliki and Shafi’I legal thought in Sudan, addressing how each of these two juridical schools developed epistemologies, institutions, and textual communities of learning that have not been adequately studied in scholarship on Islam in Sudan.

Ongoing Research – Nathalie Coste

Nathalie E. Coste is a PhD candidate in Political Science and International Relations at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po Paris), affiliated with the Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI).

She graduated from Sciences Po’s Research Master’s Degree in Political Science of International Relations in 2012. Her Master’s thesis focused on secessionist dynamics and state-building in Sudan and South Sudan.

She holds a scholarship position (doctoral contract, 2012-2015) and is a junior course lecturer (allocataire-monitrice) at Sciences Po Paris while advancing her PhD research.

The latter focuses on the impacts of (in)opportune interactions between local, regional and global stakeholders on separatism in Africa. It investigates the case of the Sudan(s), from 2002 to 2011. She wonders how come the creation of a new state ended up to be the only considered geopolitical solution to a civil conflict whose roots could, though, be accounted for by the nature of the institutional and political Sudanese state apparatus. It finally tries to highlight some of the paradoxes that one could identify by confronting local and international attitudes and processes.

Ongoing research : Maai Youssef

After a first master’s degree in medieval african history in 2010 (CEMAf, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Maaï Youssef holds a second master’s degree in sociology in 2014. Part of the Economic Crises, Migration and Development program in Egypt (ECOMIG), her research was focused on the syrian and sudanese refugees’ situation since 2011. The CEDEJ in Khartoum welcomed her for a short fieldwork there in march 2014. She was researching genesis of transnational networks of the sudanese political opposition of Darfur and Kordofan, that she was focused on in Cairo. She discussed her research during an helpful seminar at CEDEJ. She conducted fieldwork in Egypt, Sudan and Turkey. She is now researching comparatively the effects of the political context on syrian exiles in Egypt and Turkey, and keep a deep interest on the Sudanese case in an historical perspective. She is currently working on political commitment and transnational networks during an exile into an authoritarian context. Her PhD research is funded by Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Ongoing Research – Mai Azzam

Development of Burhanyyia community: shaping youth religious identities 

This research is part of a PhD project in anthropology at the University of Khartoum; it falls under the umbrella of a cooperation program between Paris 8 University and University of Khartoum. Broadly, it is concerned with the general theme of Islamization, Sufi orders and youth in Sudan.

Some scholars expected that Islam is becoming detached gradually from the African continent following the same pattern of detached Christianity in Europe. In fact, Sudan as an African Muslim country is presenting a different case than what was expected by scholars in the past. It can be clearly seen that Islam is becoming more attached to the community, and in particular to the young generation one. Dating back in the history Islam was introduced to Sudan through Sufi orders, in a formula that best suited the community, it was a successful marriage between Sufi ideology and local cultures. Since then, Sudan is subjected to continuous pressures of Islamization, although, this happened in different periods, but the most effective one started with the current regime. It is hard to separate the Islamization process from political ideology, the process which is well studied by different scholars locally as well as internationally. Nevertheless, it is relevant to study the effect of forced Islamization on a Muslim community. The changes that happened in the Muslim community in Sudan can be seen through different indicators, thus, for the sake of this study, religiosity manifestations and modes of religiosity are to be used as entrances to understand new formulas of religious identities. Identities are shaped in a long process that includes religious background as an important element, especially within the youth community. It is worth mentioning that religious identities can be selected or forced, this depends on a complex of factors, which will be studied along through this research. The varieties of religious identities in Sudan are wide and handy, it can be Sufi, Salafi, centrist, etc. This research is concerned with the Sufi “followers”, the case of Sufi orders in Sudan is best suits examining the changes forced by Islamization, taking into account the new forms of Sufi orders that are targeting youth. One of these orders is Burhanyyia in Khartoum, Burhanyyia are interested in young generations. Their discourse, ideology and strategy are directed to attract youth to join the Sufi orders. The case of Burhanyyia is well aligned with the overall trend of what is known as neo-Sufism, but also it is aligned with the massive numbers of Sufi branches, Sufi orders, which are born constantly in Khartoum. The sheikh Mohamed Osman Abdo Al Burhany, had a clear vision regarding his tariqqa, the targeted community, the future plan, and the modernizing mechanisms. There are different layers in the above description; Burhanyyia as a tariqqa that is always coping with the social modernity forces, but also keeping the authenticity of an old Sufi tradition, as well as, reacting towards the Islamization trend, that is fluctuating between forcing a monocular Islamic ideology sometimes, and tolerant to others sometimes. On the other side of this coin, youth who are seeking a religious identity choose to follow Sufi tradition; they find a platform in Burhanyyia which already well prepared to grasp them. This study is trying to understand through studying development of the Burhanyyia community, youth modes of religiosity, sociological motives behind joining a Sufi Order and the process of shaping a religious identity. This will be analyzed under the wide umbrella of the question regarding Islamization effects from an anthropological stand point.

Ongoing Research – Franck Derrien

Franck Derrien is geographer. After his master (université Paris-IV-Sorbonne, Institut de géographie), he defended his PhD thesis entitled “Analyse de l’occupation du Sinaï durant l’Holocène : comparaison des occupations humaines actuelles et passées” at the university of Aix-Marseille the 25th june 2012.

Franck Derrien works in Egypt since 10 years. In this country, his research focuses on an ethnographic study of the Bedouin of Sinai, their tribal boundaries, the seasonal management of the territories and the saints’ cult practices. After 2 years in Cairo as a researcher for the French ministry of foreign affairs (Nov 2004 – Nov 2006) and more than 1 year as a Police officer to the French ministry of higher education and research in Paris (Oct 2009 – Jan 2011), he is Research associate to the Cedej-Khartoum since 2012.

Franck Derrien works in Sudan since 2008. His research focuses on an ethnographic study of the nomads who use the desert roads of the Sudanese western desert for animal, salt and natrun trade.

Coming back from Selima oasis (North Sudan)

An interview with the nomads coming from Darfur and going to Egypt (Sedeinga, Sudan, November 2013) © Coralie Gradel
An interview with the nomads coming from Darfur and going to Egypt (Sedeinga, Sudan, November 2013) © Coralie Gradel 


A nomad drawing ground the track between Egypt and Sudan (Farafra, Egypt, January 2013) © Franck Derrien
A nomad drawing ground the track between Egypt and Sudan (Farafra, Egypt, January 2013) © Franck Derrien 

Selima is located approximately 120 km north-west of the Nile at the latitude of Sedeinga and 70 km from the border with Egypt. This oasis was a stop on the Darb al-Arbain linking Darfur (Sudan) to Assiut (Egypt), through Bir Natrun, al-Chab and Kharga, among others. This track was used, at least in some portions, until the 1980s. The team of the French archaeological mission “Selima Oasis Project” worked in this oasis between the 31st October 2013 and the 17th November 17, 2013, under the direction of Coralie Gradel, Researcher at the French Unit of the National Museum in Khartoum (French Ministry of Foreign Affairs /CNRS). The team included two German researchers from the University of Cologne and four Sudanese (an inspector of antiquities, a driver and two workers).

As the geographer of this archaeological mission, Franck Derrien was responsible for mapping the oasis (vegetation, water resources …) in November 2011. Two years later, the aim was to complete the map, to obtain informations about the excavation and the transport of salt and natrun by nomads between Egypt and Sudan and get information about the current use of the desert roads of the Sudanese Western Desert by nomads for animal trade (camel, donkey, cow…). This study is a continuation of the research that he leads in the Egyptian Western Desert since 2012 when he began an ethnographical study of the Rachaida, a tribe whose members moved along the Darb al-Arbain between the oasis of Kharga and Selima until the 1980s.

The results of the first mission conducted in 2011 were presented at the 7th International Conference of the Dakhleh Oasis Project organized by the University of Leiden ( The first results of the 2013 mission will be presented at the 13th International Conference for Nubian Studies at the University of Neuchâtel between the 1st and the 6th September 2014.

The touristic performance of Sudan

The camel drivers waiting the tourists near the pyramids of Méroé (November 2012) © Franck Derrien
The camel drivers waiting the tourists near the pyramids of Méroé (November 2012) © Franck Derrien 

Sudan is now at a key moment in its history. When he was still the largest country in Africa, the economy was mainly based on oil. Following the self-determination referendum which resulted in the declaration of independence of South Sudan on 9th July 2011, Sudan lost 10 millions of inhabitants, a quarter of its surface and substantially all of its oil revenues, the fields are mainly located in the south. The country is therefore time to decide. Sudan must find other sources of income. Can tourism contribute significantly to the supply of foreign exchange and job creation in this country?

After a short presentation of the current economic context of Sudan, Franck Derrien present successively the assets of the country regarding tourism, its touristic performance, the strategies implemented to optimize the sector of the tourism and the challenges to increase its economic weight. This study ends with a synthesis which recapitulates the strengths and the weaknesses of the sector of the tourism in the Sudan in 2013, without forgetting the opportunities and the threats (SWOT Analysis). This article will be published mid-2014 :

Franck Derrien. Le Tourisme au Soudan : une destination confidentielle ? Tourisme et territoires. Volume 4. Juin 2014.

Ongoing Research – Guillaume Sauloup

Guillaume Sauloup is a Ph.D student in geography at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (UMR Prodig-CNRS). He analyses street economies in Sudan. He conducted five fieldworks since 2010 with the assistance of CEDEJ. After a first study (for a master degree) on construction laborers, his current research focuses on street workers in several neighborhoods of the capital of the Sudan (Khartoum 2, Souk el arabi, Mayo, Deim). The aim of the research is to understand the contribution of street jobs in the shaping of urban space and their role in the “urban belonging” of workers. Guillaume is currently writing his thesis and teaching at the university.

Ongoing Research – Philippe Gout

Philippe Gout is a Ph.D student in international law at the Institute of Higher International Studies (Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas University). His research relates to The Protection of Minorities in Peacebuilding Process and mainly addresses ethnic groups. Relying on a regional approach, Philippe essentially focuses on the African context and on the legal innovations of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

His research brings closer two different issues: Peacebuilding – which is often equated to the new legal and controversial concept of jus post bellum – and the law of minorities. So as to associate these two issues into one comprehensive study, the research combines two objectivist approaches to international law: the sociological approach (G. Scelle) and the more recent democratic approach to international law (built upon J. Habermas’ thought).

Starting with Sudan as his main field research, Philippe intends to widen the scope of his study to Sudan’s surrounding States in order to challenge the classic legal dichotomy between international and internal armed conflicts. In so doing, the research aims at testing the consistency of the new legal concept of jus post bellum and at determining the nature and scope of the legal responsibility and accountability of peacebuilding stakeholders: from local tribal units to international organizations’ agencies.

The research otherwise aims at determining the extent to which international and regional legal systems rely on traditional laws of ethnic – and religious – groups in an attempt to uphold the peacebuilding process.  It notably tries to determine whether ethnic units can be granted collective status and rights additional to standard individual minority rights. It finally calls into question the international legal personality of ethnic minorities in the African regional legal context (either as legal or natural person).


After two experiences within the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (Office of the Prosecutor) and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (Trial Chamber), Philippe was granted a scholarship by CEDEJ and is now carrying Ph.D research in Sudan. He is also a contributor to the Andromaque-Sudan Project (ANR – CJB) related to The Anthropology of Law in African and Asian Muslim Worlds: The Sudan.