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Oxford University Press, USA
War and Survival in Sudan's Frontierlands: Voices from the Blue Nile

War and Survival in Sudan's Frontierlands: Voices from the Blue Nile

by Wendy James


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War and Survival in Sudan's Frontierlands: Voices from the Blue Nile

In the final volume of her ethnographic trilogy, the anthropologist Wendy James presents a case-study of how the Uduk-speaking people, originally from the Blue Nile region between the 'north' and the 'south' of Sudan, have been caught up in and displaced by a generation of civil war. Some have responded by defending their nation, others by joining the armed resistance of the Sudan People's Liberation Army. Yet others eventually found temporary security as international refugees in Ethiopia, and even further afield in countries such as the USA. Sudan's peace agreement of 2005 leaves much uncertainty for the future of the whole country, as conflict still rages in Darfur. The Uduk case shows how people who once lived together now try to maintain links across borders and even continents through modern communications, and where possible recreate their 'traditional' forms of story-telling, music, and song.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199298679
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 12/09/2007
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 8.60(w) x 5.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Wendy James is Professor of Social Anthropology in the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of St. Cross College. She has carried out research in the Sudan and Ethiopia intermittently over four decades, and has long-standing academic links with universities and other institutions in the region of north-eastern Africa. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and has served as President of the Royal Anthropological Institute. She has published widely not only on Africa but on the history and current scope of anthropology, as well as acting on various occasions as a consultant to the UN and associated agencies. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Copenhagen in 2005.

Table of Contents

List of Maps, Thumbnail Sketches, and Figures     xxiv
Note on Texts and Translations     xxvi
Historical Introduction: The Blue Nile Borderlands     1
An old region now divided     2
A 'paradise' at risk: Schuver's testimony     6
Old frontier polarities: the Faragallah story     11
The making of the modern frontier: 1898-1956     20
Post-imperial transformations of political space: 1956-2006     24
Conversations between the generations     32
Where are the people now?     33
The Struggles for Kurmuk and for Chali
Projects, Targets, and the Recruitment of the People     41
Agricultural labour demands     42
The national army and people's militias     44
The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA)     48
Kurmuk: twin towns and the struggles of 1987-1997     52
Chali: Rooting up a Sleepy Village     62
Initial assaults and reprisals, 1984-1987     64
Escape to the north: displaced to Khartoum     68
Escape to the south: displaced to Nasir     75
Guerrillas' reasons, heard later     82
First brief capture, 1987     84
Chali: Front-Line Garrison     90
Living with the soldiers,1988-1989     91
Second brief capture, 1989     92
Lull: and third capture, 1997     105
The Long Road, 1987-1993
Initial Refuge at Assosa and Why it Failed     111
Blue Nile South: Ethiopian Turmoil, SPLA Protection, 1990-1992     124
Conversations in Nor Deng     131
The trek: Assosa to Itang     133
Civilian accounts     133
Military aspects     141
The trek: Itang to Nor Deng     142
Civilian accounts     142
Military aspects     147
The SPLA Split: Refugees on the Edge     151
The trek: Nasir to Maiwut and Kigille     151
Hard choice at Kigille     158
Hanging on in the Sudan     160
Returns to Chali and renewed flight     163
Escape back to the New Ethiopia     170
The trek: Kigille to Itang, Gambela, and Karmi     170
Conversations in Karmi     172
Drama at Itang     173
Drama at Karmi     178
Onward to Bonga     184
Beyond Words
Safe Haven? The Bonga Refugee Scheme     189
Conversations in Bonga     195
Space, layout, authority, and social life in Bonga     200
The Humanitarian International: brief encounters, 1987-2006     210
Dance, Music, and Poetry     215
The resurgence of dance     215
Language games     222
The Christian/'Pagan' divide     228
Current tensions: an internal polarity     232
'Encapsulated' Christian songs     234
Lyre songs: politics and memory     237
Sermons, Visions, and Dreams     246
Myths, dreams, and sermons in exile     247
Christmas in Itang, 1990     258
Locating oneself in a divided world     264
Reunions, Retrospectives, and Ironies     275
Persons lost by accident, who turn up years later     276
Children scattered during fighting at Itang, 1992     278
Women dispersed through marriage to SPLA soldiers     279
Itang: the boys' departure, and occasional 'return'     282
Missed encounters     289
Epilogue: Current and Future Agendas     295
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005, the new Blue Nile State, and the continuing crisis in Darfur     297
The repatriation from Ethiopia, the national, and the international diaspora     301
Anthropology and a changing conception of 'the local'     304
Chronology of Events      310
Bibliography     315
Index     325

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