Call for Papers: War in the Sudan

Dotawo 8 (2021): War in the Sudan

War has been a recurring form of violent interaction between communities in the Sudan since the Stone Age, and many chronological divisions in the history of the Sudan are set at events such as wars, battles, conquests, and peace treaties. Still, warfare has often been an overlooked subject among researchers working in the country. A reason for this may be that periods of stability or evolving complexity are usually longer than episodes of war, which occur during relatively short timespans at irregular intervals. Furthermore, the contemporary Sudan has been a violent place, and this has possibly made war in the country a sensitive topic and restrained researchers from making war the subject of their research.

The modern borders of the Sudan are a construct of war. First through the conquests by the Ottoman rulers of Egypt between the 1820s and the 1870s. Then the Anglo-Egyptian conquest in 1898, which also incorporated the independent sultanate of Darfur in 1916. The borders of the Anglo-Egyptian condominium were maintained when Sudan became independent in 1956, but the northern and southern parts of the independent country thereafter fought on and off in the longest civil war in Africa. The war was terminated with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, which culminated with a referendum where the southern part of the country voted for secession. The country was split in two in 2011. Nevertheless, violent conflict and war continued as the new states of South Sudan and Sudan were fighting over territory and oil fields in the border regions. Since late 2013, South Sudan has become deeply split in a civil war that is dividing the country along ethnic boundaries with great human sufferings. In the north, Sudan had a central government at war with systematically marginalized peripheries and a suppressed population. Increasing resistance from the inhabitants resulted in the toppling of the old regime in 2019. The new transitional government is now aiming at ending the internal conflicts and integrating the peripheries, and this brings hope to the war-torn country.

War in the Sudan has deep roots. An Upper Palaeolithic cemetery at Jebel Sahaba in the far north of the country is often quoted as the earliest evidence of war in world history. More than 20 victims killed in an attack with bows and arrows were buried at Jebel Sahaba.

The extremities of the earliest war and the violent conflicts in modern times demonstrate that war in the Sudan covers a great time span and various levels of organization – from violent clashes between ethnic groups to warfare between and within states. In the optimistic spirit of new beginnings in the country, time is ripe to consider war in the Sudan from an academic perspective.

The aim of this issue of Dotawo is to explore and explain wars in the Sudan either as case-studies or as broader historical patterns. We seek contributions from various disciplines, such as archaeology, anthropology, history, papyrology and philology, and from all epochs and regions of the Sudan. We suggest research questions such as:

  • Which factors cause war and under which circumstances?
  • Which warfare tactics are used and for which purposes?
  • How do wars come to an end?
  • How are societies affected or changed by wars?
  • How is warfare represented in mythology or propaganda?
  • Are societies with certain forms of social and/or political organization more prone to waging war?

We welcome perspectives on warfare that include but are not restricted to the following: Agency-based, culture-contact, ecological, evolutionary, gender, materialist, structural, or structuralist.

Abstract submission: March 1, 2020, and article submission: December 1, 2020.

Please respond to the volume editor: Henriette Hafsaas (

Dotawo CfP on Ethno-Archaeology

Call for papers on Ethnoarchaeology in Nubia and the peripheral regions

The XIIth International Conference on Archeology and History Stood in Antibes (France) in October 1991 was devoted to the following topic : Ethnoarchaeology: justifications, problems, limits. If ethnoarchaeology has supporters and opponents, it is clear that, as was written by Louis Chaix and Hassan Sidi Maamar in the proceedings of this conference (p. 281), “the use of analogy is an integral part of scientific production. (…) The function of analogy is to inspire a new idea and widen the sphere of possibilities. In no event it is to grant certain positions an undeniable status of truth.”

As Eric Huysecom explained in these proceedings (p. 91), “for better efficiency, ethnoarchaeology requires that the archaeologists state their needs in order to guide the research of the ethnoarcheologists. Both disciplines, ethnoarchaeology and archeology, should therefore be pursued simultaneously. Only then patterns highlighted with current populations will become relevant and will apply to the past. ”

Very relevant ethnoarchaeological studies were conducted in the past in Sudan, like for example the analysis of butchery techniques, comparing ethnographic data on the current cutting and archaeozoological study of a funerary context gathered in the Kerma area between 1970 and 1990, a study by Louis Chaix and Hassan Sidi Maamar.

This call for papers aims to update the latest research in ethnoarchaeology in Nubia and in the peripheral regions. We expect articles from designers (ethnoarcheologist, anthropologists, geographers …) and users (archaeologists). For example, how the study of different technical activities (ceramics, metal, basketry, architecture …) from current societies contribute to a comparative ethno-archaeological thoughts? Expectations of the archaeologists and specialists of Nubia to ethnoarchaeology are welcome.


IMC 2018 CfP: What ‘forgotten’ period? Reclaiming the Middle Ages for Africa

Call for Papers

International Medieval Congress
University of Leeds, UK, 2-5 July 2018

Africa has always been a nexus of trade routes, its history entangled with the continents that surround it: Europe, Asia, and America. These connections and interactions, whether productive or brutal, have been reasonably well documented for the classical period as well as from the onset of modern colonialism, but a chronological blank spot lingers on our historical memory. Why is it so difficult to remember the Middle Ages – their beginning, middle, and end – in and for Africa?

The International Medieval Congress in 2018 between 2-5th July 2018 will focus on the theme of ‘Memories’ – and will be an ideal occasion for scholars working on sources and historiography relating to sub-Saharan Africa in the pre-modern period to exchange ideas. We specifically invite scholars working on a wide range of sources relating to Africa to help us re-shape the impression of a purportedly ‘forgotten’ period within the larger historiographical field that focuses on Africa and its interactions with other continents.

We welcome proposals for papers of 20 minutes’ length across four sessions from historical, literary, archaeological, philological, art historical and interdisciplinary angles.

We endeavor to group papers into the following geographical sessions:

  • The Nubia and the Red Sea Region
  • Ethiopia and the Horn
  • From Mogadishu to Sofala: the Swahili Coast, the Indian Ocean and Zimbabwe
  • Empires of the Sahara and Sahel
  • Beyond the Desert Sea: From Ile-Ife to the Kingdom of Kongo

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • The beginning of the Middle Ages: the interface and influence of Greek, Christian, and Arabic cultures with local communities, Trans-Saharan, Red Sea and Western Indian Ocean Trade;
  • The middle of the Middle Ages: topics in Aksumite, Zagwe and early Solomonic history, Nubian Christian kingdoms, Islamic Sultanates of the Horn of Africa, the Swahili city states and Great Zimbabwe, the empires of Ghana, Mali, and Kanem, etc.
  • The end of the Middle Ages: the onset of colonialism, shifting paradigms in trade and power relations
  • Foreign sources on the continent, from China to Latin Europe, and from itineraries to maps

Abstracts of up to 200 words should be sent to the dedicated email account by Monday, 25th of September 2017 (extended deadline!). Please include personal and contact details (including academic affiliation), paper title, abstract, and A-V requirements.

Organizers / Contacts

  • Dr. Verena Krebs, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel / Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany •
  • Dr. Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, independent scholar •
  • Prof. Dr. Christof Rolker, Bamberg University, Germany •
  • Meseret Oldjira, Princeton University •

Dotawo CfP on Nubian Literature

Call For Papers on Nubian Literature

Though a great number of books and articles have been written on Nubian history, archeology and language in English, only  a few researchers have addressed the large body of Nubian literary production. The aim of this issue is to redress this lack by foregrounding the importance of Nubian literature in both its written and oral form. The issue will include texts written by Egyptian and Sudanese writers in both the Arabic and Nubian language translated into English as well as critical articles about the aforementioned texts. The aim of this issue is to explore different trends in Nubian literature as well as diverse ways of tackling them. We seek translations of texts written by Nubians from different periods as well as critical papers on the subject. Modes of reading include but are not restricted to the following:

  •             Psychoanalytical
  •             Philosophical
  •             Feminist
  •             Postcolonial
  •             Marxist
  •             Historicist

Some of the key questions include, but are not confined to :

  • In what way do Nubian writers deploy their heritage ?
  • How do writers use re-readings of Nubian myths/folktales as a tool to challenge or   consolidate notions of identity and in what way is their cultural background a decisive element?
  • How do writers address notions of gender and gender relations both in Modern and Old   Nubia and how can a comparative perspective be of help in understanding this specific issue?
  • How do authors employ Utopian/Dystopian themes as sub-texts that define their attitude towards Old Nubia and as a means of coping with the present? How are oral productions both an expression of a way of life that is no more as well a reflection of elements of a specifically Nubian culture that has survived until the present time?

We invite interested authors to direct questions and submit abstracts to Nivin El Asdoudi ( Please submit abstracts by 1 May 2017 and anticipate submission of the final draft of your article by 1 December 2017.