Organization and Social Structure in Libyan Oases

ghadames-chart-eldblom1968
Organization of cultivated land in Ghadames (pull-out chart from Eldblom, Structure foncière, 1968).

In the late 60s, the Swedish scholar Lars Eldblom published an extremely detailed study of the socio-economic life in the three Libyan oases of Ghadames, Ghat, and Mourzouk. Since life in Libya has changed dramatically since then, his work undoubtedly documents pheno-mena of oasis life that hardly or no longer exist. It is also full of detailed maps and figures, based on painstaking research. Because of its high level of detail it certainly deserves to be better known. The book is:

Eldblom, Lars. 1968. Structure foncière. Organisation et structure sociale. Une étude comparative sur la vie socio-économique dans les trois oasis libyennes de Ghat, Mourzouk et particulièrement Ghadamès. Lund.

He also published an English summary of the book, under the following title (available freely online):

Eldblom, Lars. 1971. Land tenure – social organization and structure: a comparative sample study of the socio-economic life in the three Libyan oases of Ghat, Mourzouk and Ghadamès. Uppsala University: Nordic Africa Institute.

And finally, I have also found an earlier study of his focusing especially on irrigation in the oases of Brak, Ghadames, and Mourzouk:

Eldblom, Lars. 1961. Quelques points du vue comparatifs sur les problèmes d’irrigation dans les trois oasis Libyennes de Brâk, Ghadames et particulièrement Mourzouk. Lund (Lund Studies in Geography 22).

The second Ottoman period in the writing of Libyan history | العهد العثماني الثاني في كتابة التاريخ الليبي

هنا نقدّم مقالةً عربيةً للمرة الاولى و هي مقالة “العهد العثمان الثاني في كتابة التاريخ الليبي” من الباحث الالماني ياكوب كرايس.

في مجال تاريخ الولايات العربية تحت السيطرة العثمانية تحتل ليبيا مكانة خاصة بالماقرنة مع البلدان الاخرى في شمال افريقيا لأنه كان ارتباطاً وثيقاً بين اعادة الاحتلال العثماني لليبيا و اعادة التنظيم للامبراطورية الشاملة. اذا من الممكن، في مشاريع التحديث العثمانية في ليبيا، اكتشاف التناقد بين التطور الاضطهاد. و لذلك يعتبر تيار من البحث التاريخي الدولة العثمانية كقوة استعمارية كغيرها، بينما يشير بعض العلماء الى اهمية التراث العثماني في العالم العربي. اما المؤمرخون الليبيون المعاصرون فلهم ايضاً وجهات نظر مختلفة: هناك باحثون مهتومون بالتأثيرات السلبية للاصلاحات العثمانية، من جهة اخرى ينوه مؤرخون اخرون بنتائجها اليجابية و في نفس الوقت هناك اتفاق بين التيارين بالنسبة الى التضامن الاسلامي ضد الغزو الاستعماري الايطالي.

Abstract: “In the history of the Ottoman Empire’s Arab provinces Libya occupies a special place, compared to the other North African countries, insofar as the Ottoman reoccupation of Libya went hand in hand with the reorganization of the empire as a whole. It is thus possible to trace, in the Ottoman reform projects, an opposition between development and repression. That is why one strand in historical research considers the Ottoman Empire as a regular colonial power, while some scholars, on the other hand, emphasize the importance of the Ottoman heritage in the Arab world. The contemporary Libyan historians, for their part, have also different points of view: there are those researchers who are interested, above all, in the negative influences of Ottoman reforms, whereas others stress the positive outcomes. At the same time, there exists a consensus as far as the Islamic solidarity against the Italian colonial aggression is concerned.”

How Long Have You Been With Us? by Khaled Mattawa

How Long Have You Been With Us? Essays on Poetry by Khaled Mattawa has just been published by the University of Michigan Press.

“Khaled Mattawa, an American poet of Libyan origin, explores various dynamic developments shaping American poetry as it is being practiced today. Arising from an incredibly diverse range personal backgrounds, lyric traditions, and even languages, American poetry is transforming into a truly international form. Mattawa, who also translates Arabic poetry into American English and American poetry into Arabic, explores the poetics and politics of cross-cultural exchange and literary translation that fostered such transformation. The essays in this collection also shed light on Mattawa’s development as a poet and provide numerous portraits of the poets who helped shaped his poetry.”

New Issue of Libyan Studies | عدد جديد من مجالة الدراسات اليبية

ls47coverThe latest issue (#47, 2016) of the journal Libyan Studies has just been published. It contains the following articles:

— “The main issues of the Cyrene necropolis and the use of remote sensing for monitoring in the case of the eastern necropolis.” By Fawzi Al Raeid, Eugenio Di Valerio, Maria Giorgia Di Antonio, Oliva Menozzi, Mazen A.S. Abdalgader El Mziene and Clara Tamburrino

— “GIS of the chora of Cyrene: fortifications and Christian buildings in Late Antiquity.” By A. Abdalrahim Sheriff Saad, S. Farag Abdel Hati, Sonia Antonelli, Oliva Menozzi, Veronica Petraccia and Maria Carla Somma

— “The Lepcitanian landscape across the ages: the survey between Ras el-Mergheb and Ras el-Hammam (2007, 2009, 2013).” By Massimiliano Munzi, Fabrizio Felici, Jabar Matoug, Isabella Sjöström and Andrea Zocchi

— “Rediscovering the rural landscape of Carthage’s hinterland: a reassessment of the Carthaginian Countryside survey.” By Rachael A. Sycamore and Brian G. Buchanan

— “Late Roman imported red slip ware in the Metelis region (Alexandria, Egypt).” By Cristina Mondin

— “An annotated bibliography of Arabic and Berber in Libya.” By Adam Benkato and Christophe Pereira

— “Arabic toponymy in the territory of al-Bayḍā/al-Qubba (Cyrenaica, Libya).” By Jesus Lorenzo Jimenez

It is available online at the journal’s homepage, but unfortunately only accessible to subscribers or those with an institutional subscription.

Libia 1911-1912: Immaginari coloniali e italianità

Gabriele Proglio, Libia 1911-1912: Immaginari coloniali e italianità, Mondadori (2016).

From the publisher: “L’Italia va alla guerra per conquistare il suo ‘posto al sole’ senza realmente sapere cosa troverà sull’altra sponda del Mediterraneo. Il volume analizza la propaganda coloniale e, in particolare, la stretta relazione tra la costruzione narrativa della colonia libica e le trasformazioni dell’italianità. All’iniziale studio degli immaginari sulla Libia precedenti il 1911, segue una disamina di quelle voci che si mobilitarono a favore della guerra, partendo dai nazionalisti di Enrico Corradini con i riferimenti all’Impero romano, al Risorgimento, al mito della ‘terra promessa’. L’archivio coloniale è indagato anche attraverso lo studio delle omelie funebri per i soldati caduti durante la guerra, con immagini che vanno dal buon soldato al figlio della patria. Un altro campo d’analisi è quello dell’infanzia: i discorsi dei docenti sul conflitto, del «Corriere dei Piccoli» e della letteratura per ragazzi lavorano per «costruire» i corpi dei piccoli italiani. Non manca, infine, lo studio della letteratura interventista: Gabriele D’Annunzio, Giovanni Pascoli, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Matilde Serao, Ezio Maria Gray, Umberto Saba, Ada Negri, Giuseppe Bevione.”

The Sanusi Letters: a checklist | قائمة رسائل السنوسية

From “The Sanusi Letters: A checklist”, by Knut S. Vikør. Available freely online.

“The obvious importance of the Sanūsī order has made it one of the better studied movements of nineteenth-century Islam. Traditionally, however, the movement has been known mostly from external sources, in particular French colonial observers, and from overviews such as those of E.E. Evans-Pritchard and Nicola Ziadeh. There exists, however, a rich body of material from inside the order. They include the scholarly works of its masters, but also non-literary material such as letters of various types. In recent years, more and more of these have been published in various works on the Sanusiyya. They are, however, spread throughout many publications and it may be hard to obtain an overview of them. The present list is a survey of known letters to and from the Sanūsī order.”

Documentary: Libya’s Revolutionary Musicians

A new documentaryStronger Than Bullets by filmmaker Matthew Millan, about music during the Libyan revolution is now available through Al-Jazeera English:

Amidst the bloody revolution to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, a defiant music scene emerged from the dust of war. After 42 years of non-Arabic music being banned, Benghazi suddenly resounded with a melodic fury, with hip-hop, heavy metal, rock, blues, and even country music echoing around the city.

“Stronger than Bullets” introduces the musicians who are free to play at last, and follows them as they stand shoulder-to-shoulder, guitar to rifle, alongside rebel fighters.

After months of war, Gaddafi’s death paved the way for the musicians to celebrate their victory with a triumphant music festival. Yet when the tyrant fell, shadowy elements emerged to halt the festival at the 11th hour, as victory descended into conflict and chaos.

Soon the situation came full circle back to the days of the tyrant, and the musicians had to scatter to the four winds. Will the music scene thrive once again, or will it remain mired in post-revolutionary blues?

http://players.brightcove.net/665003303001/SJg0bzqkZ_default/index.html?videoId=5178293746001&autoplay