International Conference: “Towards a New Social History of Sudan” — The University of Chicago Center in Paris, 10-12/12/2019
University of Chicago in Paris
6 Rue Thomas Mann, 75013 Paris
10-12 December 2019
The University of Chicago Center in Paris
Organized by Jean-Nicolas Bach (CEDEJ Khartoum), Anaël Poussier (Paris 1), Lucie Révilla (LAM Bordeaux) and Elena Vezzadini (IMAF).
Sponsoring institutions: IMAF, Paris 1, AUF, IISMM, ANR SyndiQuAf, IRD, CEDEJ Khartoum
The historiography of modern and contemporary Sudan has been shaped by its political history. Indeed, historians have often been called upon to respond to contemporary crises – civil wars, regime changes, international conflicts – often according to criteria of urgency, at the risk of falling into a certain presentism. In this context, social history, which often requires a slower and punctilious form of research, which does not produce ready-made solutions to the multiple crises in the country, and which put at the centre stage the lives of “ordinary people” has struggled to assert itself on the academic scene.
This conference, which is also a research program, aims to put “ordinary people”, women and men, back at the center of Sudan’s modern and contemporary history. From the outset, we wish to emphasize that the term “ordinary people” should neither hide nor flatten the teeming complexity of Sudanese society. We also wish to consider all the dimensions related to the history of “exceptionally normal” people: their daily lives, beliefs, horizons and desires, their interconnections and circulations, while never forgetting the diversity of the various actors, be it related to their social class or their origin.
Taking the social history of “ordinary people”, including those of the marginalized peripheries, as a starting point for historical research opens up new perspectives, not only on the political history of the country, but also on the changes, breaks and crises that the country has gone through. This includes the understanding of great popular revolutionary episodes that have been pivotal for its history, such as the one that has been taking place since December 2018 and brought the end of Omar al-Bashir’s regime (1989-2019).