Monthly Archives: August 2015

Article: Women’s Bodies in Post-Revolution Libya: Control and Resistance

“Women’s Bodies in Post-Revolution Libya: Control and Resistance” by Sahar Mediha Elnaas and Nicola Pratt. In Rethinking Gender in Revolutions and Resistance: Lessons from the Arab World. London: Zed Books, 2015.

“Ever since the uprisings that swept the Arab world, the role of Arab women in political transformations received unprecedented media attention. The copious commentary, however, has yet to result in any serious study of the gender dynamics of political upheaval.

Rethinking Gender in Revolutions and Resistance is the first book to analyse the interplay between moments of sociopolitical transformation, emerging subjectivities and the different modes of women’s agency in forging new gender norms in the Arab world. Written by scholars and activists from the countries affected, including Paletine, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, this is an important addition to Middle Eastern gender studies.”

Read a review and discussion of the book at Jadaliyya.

Book: Bridges Across the Sahara | جسور عبر الصحراء

Ahmida, Ali (ed.) 2009. Bridges Across the Sahara: Social, Economic and Cultural Impact of the Trans-Sahara Trade During the 19th and 20th Centuries. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

“The objective of this edited book is to rethink the history of colonial and nationalist categories and analyses of modern Africa through an integration and examination of the African Saharan trade as bridges that link the North, Central, and West regions of Africa. Firstly, it offers a critique of the colonial, postcolonial and nationalist historiographies, and also of current western scholarship on northern and Saharan Africa especially Middle East Studies and African Studies Associations. Secondly, it provides an alternative narrative of the forgotten histories of the Sahara trade as linkages between the North and the South of the Sahara. The Sahara desert was seldom a barrier separating the northern, middle and western parts of the continent….”


“Introduction. Neither a Divide nor an Empty Space: The Sahara as a Bridge” by Ali Abdullatif Ahmida

“Trans Saharan Trade in Arabic Sources until the 16th Century: A Study of Means of Transactions” by Ahmed Elyas

“The Organization of Caravan Trade in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Western Africa” by Ghislaine Lydon

“The Sociocultural and Economic Exchange between the Augila Oasis and the Cyrenaican Bedouin in Libya’s Eastern Sahara: A Centuries-long Symbiotic Relationship” by John P. Mason

“Redeemed Lives in the Trans-Saharan Migrations of the Nineteenth Century” by Terence Walz

“Strategic Aspects of the Shrinking Trans-Saharan Trade in Eastern Libya: Revisiting the Italian Occupation of al-Jaghbub, 1925-26” by Fred H. Lawson

“Weapons and “smugglers” throughout Western Sahara: From the Anti-colonial Resistance to the First World War” by Francesco Correale

“Camels as Trading Goods: The Transition from a Beast of Burden to a Commodity in the Trans-Saharan Trade between Chad and Libya” by Meike Meerpohl

“Ibrahim Al-Koni’s Atlas of the Sahara” by Elliot Colla

Article: An Ottoman Pasha and the End of Empire

Related to the previous post is this article:

Ghazal, Amal. 2014. An Ottoman Pasha and the End of Empire: Sulayman al-Baruni and the Networks of Islamic Reform [باشا عثماني و نهاية الامبراطورية: سليمان الباروني و شبكات الاصلاح الاسلامي]. In Global Muslims in the Age of Steam and Print, eds. J. Gelvin & N. Green. Berkeley: University of California Press. 40–58.

From the article:

“In a photograph taken in 1913, Sulayman al-Baruni (1872/73-1940), a native of the Nafusa Mountains in what is now Libya, has donned an Ottoman army uniform and a fez and poses with an Ottoman officer. His appearance and his career epitomized the cosmopolitan Muslim reformer at the beginning of the twentieth century. Educated in Tunisia, Egypt, and Algeria, elected to the Ottoman parliament in Istanbul, dispatched to Tripolitania to fight Italian invaders, and spending the end of his life in exile in Oman with intermittent visits to Baghdad, al-Baruni had a career resembling that of many of his contemporaries who zigzagged the Ottoman realm, defended its borders, and then watched as their world crumbled into fragments. But al-Baruni was distinctive among Ottoman officials. He was a member of the minority Ibadi sect who turned into a modernist reformer, a pan-Ottomanist, and, later on, a pan-Arabist.”

Studies on the Ibadis in Libya | دراسات في الاباضية في ليبيا

In North Africa, the Ibadi school (الاباضية) of Islam exists only among the Berber communities of the Nafusa Mountains in western Libya, the island of Jerba in Tunisia, and certain oases (such as Mzab) in eastern Algeria. The Ibadis of Libya are, of course, not so often discussed–to some extent even within the country itself. Although not everyone knows it, one of the most famous figures of Libyan history–Suleyman Baruni, who had a storied career as an Ottoman official and intellectual–was an Ibadi originally from the Nafusa Mountains.

Most of the western-language scholarship on the Ibadi communities of Libya was carried out by the Polish scholar Tadeusz Lewicki (تاديوش لويتسكي) some decades ago, fortunately usually in French. His publications include items that are also of interest for those working on Berber language and literature, such as medieval Berber chronicles (written in Arabic). Some important publications are the following:

Numerous further references, some with commentary in French, can be found at the website of the “Maghribadite” project based in France–click here for their bibliographic resources page. Otherwise, scholarship on various aspects of the Ibadis of North Africa is quite broad and this isn’t the place for a comprehensive bibliography. See the work of Virginie Prevost and Vermondo Brugnatelli, among others, for some good starting points.

Two Studies by Libyan Women | دراستان باقلام باحثتين ليبيتين

Amal Obeidi, Political Culture in Libya. Routledge: London (2001).

Political Culture in Libya appeared in 2001 as a welcome contribution to Libyan political studies. Few empirical studies of Arab countries have dealt with political culture and political socialisation or focused on people’s beliefs, values, and attitudes towards the government or political leaders, mainly because the regimes have been reluctant to allow opinion to be tested. The significance of this book is that it assesses the influence of state ideology on the new generation of Libyans, and examines their political culture. Reviews are here, here, and here.

Amal Obeidi is Associate Professor of Comparative Politics in the Department of Political Science,  University of Benghazi, Libya. She served as Dean of Faculty of Economics at the University of Benghazi in 1999-2001 and as head of Department of Political Science in 2006-2008. In her research she mainly focuses on security, especially in the Mediterranean; gender issues; and public policies. Besides the book shown here, her publications include “Security Policies in Libya” (Geneva Center for Security Studies 2004); “The Political Elites in Libya since 1969” (in:  Libya since 1969. Qadhafi’s Revolution Revisited, London 2011); “The Impact of the Revolution and the Transitional Period on Women’s Empowerment Policies in Libya” (Beirut 2013); and “From Forced Reconciliation to Recognition: The Abu Salim Case in Historical Perspective” (Leiden 2013).

Hana S. El-Gallal, Islam and the West: The Limits of Freedom of Religion. Peter Lang: Berlin (2014).

From the publisher’s blurb: “Religious Intolerance is on the rise. Debating religious freedom often means debating “West” versus “Islam”. This book challenges crucial stereotypes around this issue. It explores the scope of the right to freedom of religion in the International Treaties and Declarations and investigates why this right creates misunderstandings and misconceptions that often lead to intolerance and discrimination in countries of various political, social, and cultural backgrounds. Islam and the West attempts to find reasons for the rise of religious intolerance. The author looks at the limitation of the religious symbols law in France and the anti-terrorism measures in the USA; she discusses also Religious minorities and Apostasy in Saudia Arabia and Egypt. Furthermore, she calls for extending the scope, asking questions such as: How do societies deal with different religions and beliefs? How could and do they find ways of reconciling their conflicting demands while protecting human worth? How can universal values be found and established?”

Hana S. El-Gallal is a professor at the University of Benghazi, Libya, where she teaches International Law and is the head of the Cultural Committee in the Faculty of Law. She is member of the Libyan National Council of Human Rights and the founder and President of the Libyan Centre for Development and Human Rights. She obtained her PhD in Law from Bern University, Switzerland.

Libyan Flavours | نكهات ليبية

Libyan Flavours is a “movement to celebrate the traditions and cultures that unite Libya.” Its byline is: ليبيا: نكهات مختلفة – روح واحدة “Libya: different flavors, one spirit”. To that end, the people behind it have produced so far three beautiful videos showing different aspects of Libyan culture integral to all regions and groups. On their Facebook page, you can also find relevant photos and videos contributed by other users.