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The Lahawiyin:
Identity and History in a Sudanese Arab Tribe

Identity and History in a Sudanese Arab Tribe.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The Lahawiyin:
Identity and History in a Sudanese Arab Tribe
Tamador Ahmed Khalid Abdalla
This thesis is concerned with the Lahawiyin of northern Sudan, and it explores
the relationship between identity and history in this Sudanese Arab tribe since
the late nineteenth century. The history of the Lahawiyin reveals continuous
crossings of borders and boundaries through a period of substantial political
and economic change, much of it driven by external forces.
The thesis demonstrates that the Lahawiyin Arab identity has been central to
the way that Lahawiyin leaders have sought to develop and maintain their
authority, and the ways in which ordinary Lahawiyin have tried to maintain a
particular way of life and patterns of social relations. Arab identity has been
used instrumentally to make claims or assert rights; but it has also shaped the
way in which Lahawiyin have understood their interests. The emphasis on
Arab identity has been closely linked to the prolonged campaign by some
Lahawiyin for a homeland (dar), and in the way that Lahawiyin have
negotiated their subordinate status within larger Arab confederations – first the
Kababish, then the Shukriyya. It has also shaped Lahawiyin relationships with
their own subordinates, particularly slaves. Though the Lahawiyin campaign
for a dar has not been successful, and their lifestyle of most Lahawiyin has
now changed irrevocably away from pastoralism, Arab identity has continued
to be important in current contests over the political status of potential leaders,
and the group as a whole.
The thesis makes use of a range of archival sources in the UK National
Archive, in Sudan Archive at Durham and at the National Records Office in
Khartoum. During the fieldwork various academic sources were consulted in
Khartoum and Gedarif which form an important aspect of the narratives
together with the many stories which were generated from the oral histories
told by the Lahawiyin.
Using these materials, the thesis discusses how the Lahawiyin, have utilized
their Arabness, and the way they present their history, to negotiate their status
with a series of regimes, from the Turco-Egyptian state of the nineteenth
century to the current regime of the National Congress Party.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:PhD research
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:05 Apr 2011 11:08

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