Call for papers: Annual conference of the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies (SeSaMO)

Annual conference of the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies (SeSaMO)Venice, Ca’ Foscari University, January 16-17, 2015


Panel n. 3, title:

The Arab World and Sahelian Africa: the political economy of an evolving relationship

Panel organisers:

Giorgio Musso (Ph.D), University of Genova,

Raphaelle Chevrillon-Guibert (Ph.D), University of Auvergne,

Paper proposal must be submitted directly to the panel organizers (without addressing them to SeSaMO secretariat) and must include a short CV of the applicant and an abstract of max 400 words.

Deadline for abstract submission: August 24, 2014

Acceptance/rejection of paper proposals: September 7, 2014

Working languages: English and French

Panel description

In this panel, we propose to analyse the multiple links existing between the Arab World and Sahelian Africa, with special attention to economic resource issues. Taking a political economy approach and focusing on the contemporary period, the panel aims to better understand which resources (in a broad sense) constitute the core of these relationships, in addition to how they are shared, controlled and managed. We also invite scholars who wish to examine actors who are at the heart of the resource accumulation processes and detail their development and evolution over time.

The term “resources”, for what concerns this panel, should be meant in the broadest meaning. It relates to the control, management and sale of natural resources (water, oil, mineral rents, etc.) as well as to a wider range of topics such as trade, remittances and  foreign investment just to name but a few. As an example, analyses focusing on trade activities that historically constitute the core of the relations between the Sahelian Africa and Arab world as the cattle trade or the trade of manufactured goods will be greatly appreciated.

It is also possible to examine the development of economic relations between the Arab world and Sahelian Africa by crossing questions related to different types of resources and to new economic competitors. Contributions that will analyse the impact of the rise of new global actors – particularly China and the other Asian emerging powers – on the reorganization of economic relations between the Sahelian countries and the Arab-Muslim world, but also inside local societies, could be very relevant.


The existence of trans-Saharan long-distance trade links, pilgrimage routes connecting Sub-Saharan Africa with the Arabian Peninsula, the expeditions of explorers, conquerors and missionaries, give testimony to the strong and long-standing relationship that has been forged between the Sahel and the Arab-Muslim world.

Far from being anecdotal, these links historically unfolded in various political spaces and were central to the state-formation processes in the region. The famous ¨Forty Day Road¨ linking Darfur with southern Egypt is a prime example in this regard. It played a key role in the formation and development of the Darfur Sultanate, whose prosperity was built on the control of the trans-Saharan caravan trade.

Today, these links remain at the heart of multiple sociocultural, economic and political dynamics, which significantly affect political formations in the region.

The recent political upheaval in the Arab world, commonly referred to as the “Arab Spring”, shows that several processes were at play below an apparently “frozen” political surface. Many of the issues driving change (labour migration, the spread of satellite media and the internet, civil and religious activism, the rise of new economic actors, etc.) had a clear regional and, sometimes, transnational character which needs to be investigated. In this perspective, the Sahel has been one of the most affected regions The events in North Africa and the Middle East . Most of the interest and attention of researchers and policy makers in this regard has been focused on the security aspect of transnational relations, only marginally addressing the other aspects.

Strategic and security issues are important and should be adequately addressed. However, it is our intention to avoid the obsession with security that has characterized the literature, albeit non-academic, in this domain, since other relevant dynamics that link the Arab world to the Sahel tend to be overshadowed by security issues.

By studying these relationships through a broader lens, our panel aims to provide an alternative perspective on the relations between Sahelian Africa and the Arab world, placing them in a wider historical and geopolitical context in order to convey their complexity.

The panel wishes to understand both the continuities and breaks in the relations between the Arab world and Sahelian Africa at different levels of observation and analysis (local, national, international, regional, transnational, etc.). Our panel therefore invites contributions assuming a dynamic perspective on the connections between the micro, meso and macro levels in which actors operate and interact with each other. Papers analysing how states and societies shape each other through the control and management of resources will be particularly welcome. We suggest contributors to frame their study in a historical perspective, although we expect papers to be centred on the contemporary period.

The changing nature of borders, the emergence and decline of transnational actors, the transformation of power relations will be central to our analysis, especially as we consider an area widely regarded as peripheral to both the Arab and “black” Africa.

We believe that is precisely the liminal nature of the Sahel that makes it central to multiple dynamics of connection, exchange and conflict. However, because of their geographic location at the periphery of the Arab-Muslim world, the Sahelian countries – which nevertheless share many characteristics of the core countries of the Arab world – are usually excluded from analyses on the transformations of the area. In light of how porous both the physical and conceptual borders of North African and Sahelian countries are, this panel will be also an opportunity for a reflection on the established research patterns covering the Arab-Muslim world. This may open new avenues of research, based on a broader understanding of the processes at work in the Arab-Muslim world.


This panel therefore aims to bring together studies dealing with economic resources which are at the heart of relations between Sahelian Africa and the Arab world. Applicants are invited to use a political economy approach focused on multiple scale levels. However, contributions tackling the research object from other disciplinary fields will be appreciated and evaluated. The use of sources resulting from fieldwork and empirical analysis will be a key criterion for the evaluation of proposals.


Selected authors will be invited to participate to a special issue that will be proposed to an academic journal covering the Arab-Muslim world, such as the International Journal of Middle East Studies or the Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée, or to an African studies journals such as The Journal of Modern African Studies or Politique africaine.

Participation of former CEDEJ PhD students in Summer school at the IFPO Beyrouth

The two formers PhD students from CEDEJ, Laure Crombé (geography at University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense and University of Fribourg)
and Philippe Gout (international law at the Institute of Higher International Studies (Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas University) are taking part of the Summer school “Les sciences sociales au Proche-Orient à l’épreuve de leurs sources » at Ifpo (
in Beirut, (7-11 July 2014). This week offers the opportunity to exchange and share their research on Sudan with other
PhD students working in social sciences from Morocco to Iraq about of the relation to the field and data collection.
This initiative brings back Sudanese research experiences among a wide field of social sciences in the Middle East and the Arab world.

Table ronde pluridisciplinaire Comparer des “périphéries” du monde arabe : Soudan/Maghreb Quels objets, quelles approches ?

-Mardi 24 juin 2014, 14h à 18h
Salle Paul-Albert Février, MMSH, Aix-en-Provence
Organisée par
Iris Seri-Hersch, historienne (Aix-Marseille Université/IREMAM)
Elena Vezzadini, historienne (University of Bergen/IMAF)

14h00-14h10 Accueil des participants
14h10-14h30 Ouverture de la table-ronde (Iris Seri-Hersch, Elena Vezzadini)
14h30-15h00 Heather J. Sharkey, historienne, University of Pennsylvania, USA
“The Linguistic Terrain : Mapping Historical Change in Sudan and the Maghrib via Languages and Literary Cultures”
15h00-15h30 Yazid Ben Hounet, anthropologue, CNRS-LAS, Paris
“Invariants et spécificités du prix du sang (diya) en Algérie et au Soudan : à propos d’une comparaison raisonnée”
15h30-15h45 Pause café
15h45-16h15 Barbara Casciarri, anthropologue, Université Paris 8, Paris
“Méthodes, objets et approches d’une démarche anthropologique comparative entre les groupes pastoraux du Maroc et du Soudan”
16h15-16h45 Catherine Miller, sociolinguiste, CNRS-IREMAM, Aix-en-Provence
“Quel(s) centre(s) ? Quelle(s) périphérie(s) ? En quoi ces notions peuvent-elles faire sens ou pas entre Maroc et Soudan du point de vue sociolinguistique ?”
16h45-17h00 Pause réflexion
17h00-18h00 Discussion

Iris Seri-Hersch:
Elena Vezzadini:

Phd Seminars At CEDEJ

These last months different Phd seminars were held at the Cedej center for Phd students supported by the Cedej. Each seminar gathered sudanese, french, foreigners researchers and Phd students interested or specialized on the topic of the seminar.

  1. Mai Azzam has presented her research the 6th of March on the youth religious identities in the Sufi orders. For more information about Mai Azzam and her research: . Mai Azzam has a Cedej scholarships for her Phd.
  2. Philippe Gout has introduced his research the 4th of May related to « the Protection of minorities in the Peace-building Process in Sudan ». Mr Gout is at the end of his fieldwork scholarship granted by the Cedej. For more information about Philippe Gout research see our website : .
  3. Azza Mustafa Ahmed has introduced her research the 15th of May about the analysis of political parties discourse with the case of the Umma Party. Azza Mustafa Ahmed is a Phd student in political science at the University of Khartoum.
  4. Claire Gillette  a french student in geography at Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, has introduced the 25th of June her research about sanitation in Khartoum. In the following of the WAMAKHAIR research program on the water sector, her work explores the various sanitation and sewage systems that coexist in the city and focuses on a study case in Deim and Amarat.



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.

Accreditation to supervise research – Barbara Casciarri

Barbara Casciarri, from the University Paris 8, has submitted in  last December for her accreditation to supervise research a synthesis of her research entitle « Ethnographies pastorales en « situation globale » at the University Lumières Lyon 2. This presentation is the results of 24 years of anthropology fieldwork in Morocco and Sudan.  You will find following the summary, writing in French by Barbara Casciarri, of the synthesis.

Ethnographies pastorales en « situation globale »

Ce mémoire constitue le bilan de mes recherches de terrain en anthropologie qui se sont déroulées sur une période de 24 ans (1989-2013) dans deux contextes africains (le Soudan et le Maroc), avec une focalisation constante sur la catégorie des sociétés pastorales, par un travail conjoint au sein d’équipes interdisciplinaires aux composants variés (préhistoire, sciences naturelles, géographie). Les groupes qui ont fait l’objet de mes enquêtes (Aḥāmda, Baṭāḥīn et Awlād Nūba au Soudan, Aït Unzār au Maroc) partagent un même contexte écologique  (milieux  arides  africains),  une  forte  liaison  avec  les modes  de  production  et  de  reproduction sociale  typiques du pastoralisme nomade, et certains  traits culturels qui  sont communs à  l’aire dite arabo-musulmane.  Plusieurs  thématiques  ont  caractérisé  mes  recherches  chez  ces  groupes :  les  institutions politiques  locales et  leur  rapport avec  l’Etat central ;  les  formes d’accès aux  ressources naturelles  (terre et eau) ; les formes identitaires et les idéologies ancrées dans les systèmes de parenté, les rapports de sexe ou le « paradigme tribal » ; les transformations liées aux crises écologiques, à la sédentarisation, à l’urbanisation, à l’incorporation dans un système dominé par la logique capitaliste ; les interventions d’acteurs divers pour le  développement  et  la  « modernisation ».  Dans  ce  mémoire  je  reprends  les  résultats  principaux  de  ces données ethnographiques, qui ont fait déjà l’objet de publications ponctuelles, en essayant de dépasser leur particularité. Mon  objectif  est  d’établir  une  synthèse  capable  de  souligner  les  interactions multiples  des dynamiques sociales analysées et de déceler leur redéfinition constante au sein du contexte global qui dans la conjoncture actuelle incorpore ces sociétés de petite échelle. Néanmoins,  ce mémoire  ne  veut  pas  se  limiter  à  une  revue,  par  ordre  chronologique  ou  thématique,  des données  issues de mes enquêtes et de  leur  systématisation ou  interprétation. Ce  travail est aussi guidé par l’ambition  de  développer  une  réflexion  capable  de  contribuer  au  débat  plus  large  de  l’anthropologie  du monde contemporain.

Second Workshop of Andromaque Project – Sudan

The Sudanese team of the Andromaque project held a second Workshop in Khartoum in the reading room of the CEDEJ, on Sunday 2 March, from 9:00 am to 13:00 pm.

The Andromaque Sudan Team gathered  European and Sudanese researchers, whose main background is social anthropology, and has recently integrated 2 researchers with a law background. The members present at the workshop of the research team were: Barbara Casciarri (anthropologist, University Paris 8 Saint Denis, France, team’s scientific coordinator);  Munzoul Assal and Musa Adam Abdul-Jalil (Department of Anthropology, UoK);  Mohamed Abdessalam Babiker (Department of Law, UoK); Philippe Gout (PhD in Law, University Paris II Panthéon Assas, France) and Mai Azzam ( PhD student in anthropology, Khartoum, Sudan). Alice Franck, the coordinator of the CEDEJ in Khartoum was also present during the workshop.

For further information about the Andromaque project you can refer to the post about the first workshop of Andromaque.

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.

Phd Defense – Raphaëlle Chevrillon-Guibert – Des commerçants au cœur de l’expérience islamiste au Soudan


Raphaëlle Chevrillon-Guibert has defended her thesis « Des commerçants au cœur de l’expérience islamiste au Soudan. Rapports de/au pouvoir et recompositions des communautés darfouriennes zaghawa à l’aune des alliances du mouvement islamiste soudanais (1950-2011) » at the University of Auvergne (France) on the 6/12/2013. She was housed by the CEDEJ center of Khartoum during her fielwoks. Here is the abstract of her thesis:

« The study examines the formation and the domination of Sudanese Islamists’ hegemony (Gramsci, 1929-1935) by shedding light on the alliances they constructed with specific segments of the Sudanese society before and after their rise to power. More specifically, it aims to provide an analysis of the alliances’ formation with members of the Zaghawa-Darfurian ethnic community, with a special focus on economic activities. This analysis of the “constellations of interests” (Weber, 1921) of the different actors and their conjunction, enables to understand the ways people obey and disobey. Thus, this dissertation underlines how the Zaghawa communities have been associated to the Islamist project very early and describes the modalities of this association. One result is that those alliances are in fact all but a monolithic system but far more the result of various interests’ articulation at different levels (individual, collective, local or regional, professional or family, etc.) which never stop to be redrawn.

This work is based on a one year fieldwork and combined with a methodological approach using various scale levels (Revel, 1996; Grossetti, 2006).

It shows some of the mechanisms for the support, acceptance or accommodation (three ways to obey for an individual) of an authoritarian regime. It reveals that those mechanisms aren’t the unique result of explicit strategies or a question of legitimacy but depend on both individual and collective logics of action, that are more or less autonomous and that develop in specific systems of constrains.


Antonio Gramsci, Cahiers de prison, présentés et traduits chez Gallimard en 5 volumes, Paris, 1978 (cahiers 10 à 13), 1983 (6 à 9), 1990 (14 à 18), 1992 (19 à 29),1996 (1 à 5)

Michel Grossetti, « Trois échelles d’action et d’analyse. L’abstraction comme opérateur d’échelle », L’Année Sociologique, vol. 56, n° 2, p .285-307, 2006.

Jacques Revel (dir.), Jeux d’échelles. La micro-analyse à l’expérience, Le Seuil-Gallimard, Paris, 1996, 248 p.

Max Weber, Économie et Société, 1921. Traduction française Plon, Paris, 1971, 650 p. »


First Workshop of Andromaque Project – Sudan at CEDEJ, Khartoum

The Sudanese team of the Andromaque project held a first Workshop in Khartoum in the reading room of the CEDEJ, on Sunday 24th November, from 10:00 am to 17:00 pm.

Andromaque is the acronyme for Anthropologie du Droit dans les Mondes Musulmans Africains et Asiatiques (Law Anthropologie in the African and Asian Muslim Worlds), a scientific research project supported by the French ANR (National Agency for Research) and led by Baudoin Dupret, director of the Centre Jacques Berque (Rabat, Morocco). It was launched in 2011 and will be achieved at the end of 2014. Its aim is to inquiry the relation between different sources of law (mainly customary and Islamic law) starting from the observation of actual legal practices and related social dynamics among Muslim groups in various regional contexts (Morocco and Sudan in Africa, India and Indonesia in Asia). It is coordinated with Prometee, a project whose aims and issues focus on the same approach and which analyzes similar situations of “legal pluralism” in Mauritania, Algeria and Lebanon.

Andromaque wokshop on 24/11/2013 in the CEDEJ center of Khartoum.(Musa Adam Abdul-Jalil 2013)
Andromaque workshop on 24/11/2013 in the CEDEJ center of Khartoum. (Musa Adam Abdul-Jalil 2013) 

The Andromaque Sudan Team gathered 6 European and Sudanese researchers, whose main background is social anthropology, and has recently integrated 2 researchers with a law background. The members of the research team are: Barbara Casciarri (anthropologist, University Paris 8 Saint Denis, France, team’s scientific coordinator); François Ireton (socio-economist, CNRS, France); Yazid Ben-Hounet (anthropologist, Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale, France); Munzoul Assal and Musa Adam Abdul-Jalil (Department of Anthropology, UoK); Zahir M. Abdelkarim (anthropologist, PhD candidate at the Max Planck Institute, Germany); Mohamed Abdessalam Babiker (Department of Law, UoK) and Philippe Gout (PhD in Law, University Paris II Panthéon Assas, France).

The main topics tackled by the research team are: issues of land property and transmission in contemporary Sudan (pastoral collective “tribal” lands; agricultural land along the Nile Valley; residential land in the peripheral areas of Greater Khartoum); processes of conflicts’ legal resolution in various contexts (“informal courts” in IDPs areas around the capital town; mechanisms for settlement of disputes between farmers and pastoralists in the Eastern region; trials in “state courts” of Khartoum); overviews of the evolution of legal system(s) in Sudan concerning mainly land ownership, customary and statutory courts, and the relation between international law and shari’a law concerning the definition of minorities.

The aim of the workshop was to present the evolution of the various fieldwork cases, to establish a stronger relation between the social anthropology and the law approaches to legal practices and systems in contemporary Sudan and to link them to the wider common questions raised by the Andromaque project as a whole. The participants to the workshop also discussed the project of an edited book, that should be published soon after the end of the research program (2014) and would hopefully represent an interesting contribution for an interdisciplinary insight to this domain (legal practices and normative law systems) that is so crucial for understanding social dynamics in contemporary Sudan. Another meeting of the Andromaque Sudan Team would be held between February and March 2014, whose aim will be both the follow up of the editorial project and the organization of a final open workshop for the end of 2014.

Barbara Casciarri

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.


The team

The permanent team of the CEDEJ-Khartoum is:

– Alice Franck, coordinator of the branch

– Alice Koumurian, project officer

Moreover, several researchers are attached to the center as associate researchers.

– Einas Ahmed, political scientist, Associate researcher

– Franck Derrien, geographer, Associate researcher

-Katarzyna Grabska, Anthropologist, Associate researcher

– Raphaelle Chevrillon Guibert, political scientist, Associate Researcher

-Agnès de Geoffroy, political scientist, Associate researcher

-Elena Vezzadini, historian, Associate researcher

Apart from them, and according to programs carried on, the center hires ad hoc researchers, both Sudanese and international.

Moreover, the CEDEJ-Khartoum is deeply rooted in the Sudanese academic environment. It maintains particularly strong links with the University of Khartoum.


Mission and activities

  • Research Programs

The CEDEJ-Khartoum has been focusing its scientific activities around three main themes:

Islam and Society in Sudan and South Sudan 

The Islam Research Project (IRP) has mobilized a team of Sudanese and foreign researchers around the themes of new religious trends in Sudans and that of the status of religious minorities after the partition. This project was funded by the Dutch Ministry for European Affairs and International Cooperation.

Political and social restructuring underway in Sudan and South Sudan 

The CEDEJ-Khartoum has been closely following up political events and their consequences since the partition. Several research projects were launched to underline challenges and opportunities faced by Sudans. For instance, the centre organizes conferences in Addis Ababa to offer Sudanese, South Sudanese and foreign researchers a debating space.

Access to resources and their management

The centre worked on the access to resources and resources management in Sudans. A publication is in progress. Moreover, it took part in the Wamakhair program, led jointly by French, German and Sudanese institutions and dealing with water management in reater Khartoum.

  • Seminars and conferences

The CEDEJ-Khartoum wishes to favor research and exchanges among Sudans’ specialists. In that perspective, the center regularly organizes conferences and workshops to present and share its works, in Sudan as well as abroad. Moreover, the branch welcomes PhD seminars, which consists of a series of presentations given by PhD students regarding Contemporary Sudan and South Sudan in human and social sciences.

  •  Grants

The CEDEJ welcomes and supports students willing to carry researches on Sudan and South Sudan. It offers short-lived grants to young researchers in human and social sciences, Sudanese as well as foreigners. Moreover, in collaboration with the Cultural Cooperation Department of the French Embassy in Sudan, it supports a few Sudanese PhD students who were granted a scholarship to go study in France. Finally, the branch provides European PhD students with an International Mobility Grant (Aide à la Mobilité Internationale – AMI), aiming at supporting research on contemporary Sudan and South Sudan in anthropology, sociology, geography, political science, economy, history or law. ◼


Documentation centre


In 2007, the CEDEJ Khartoum opened a documentation centre in its facilities (Khartoum 2, cf. map reverse) for students and researchers working on Sudans.

The centre is opened to the public every day, from 9am to 12am and from 2pm to 5pm. Its development constitutes a priority for the branch in the years to come. It gathers about thousand documents in English, Arabic and French. Internet connection and working space are available.


CEDEJ Khartoum