Tag Archives: journals

Online archive of al-Inqadh

A number of old issues of the well-known Libyan opposition magazine Al-Inqadh (الانقاذ) are now available online. The main publication of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (الجبهة الوطنية لانقاذ ليبيا), one of the main opposition groups to the regime of Muammar Qaddafi especially in the 1980s and early 90s, Al-Inqadh circulated widely among the Libyan diaspora in the US, UK, and Europe. It is now archived on the website of the National Front Party, which seems to view itself as the successor to the NFSL.

Collage of six different covers of the opposition magazine Al-Inqadh

The back issues are well worth browsing—they are a monument to the opposition movements of the 1980s and contain some very interesting political art and poetry.

Research Roundup Spring 2019

Seasonal (that is, according to my whim and free time) roundup of research on Libya, some published recently, and some older works I’ve only recently come upon.

This series of articles focuses on Libya to investigate how individual and collective identities are imagined, experienced, and narrated in a mobile and interconnected world. Drawing from original and unexplored sources in seven different languages, our case studies illuminate subjects and circuits long neglected from historiography, and yet crucial for the understanding of the transnational and transcultural memory of Libya. Our critical engagement with ways in which histories of Libya have been materialised, colonised, regimented and forgotten reflects a wider shift across the academic discipline of History.

The contents include the following articles:


Oh hey, the latest issue of Quaderni di archeologia della Libya (#21) is out. It is one of the three academic journals which cover archaeological-related topics in Libya. It hadn’t appeared since 2009, due no doubt to the complications of carrying out work in Libya during the regime and afterwards. But at the totally insane price of €276 for a hard copy or €184 for an ebook, and without online subscription options, it’s basically unobtainable and inaccessible. Too bad. At least the table of contents of the latest issue can be viewed here.


Two articles about Libyan politics and policy after 2011 have been published in The Journal of North African Studies:

This article compares the actors, institutions and strategies of the first Tunisian Provisional Administration (TPA), which was in place from the departure of authoritarian President Ben Ali until the elections for a National Constituent Assembly, with those of the Libyan National Transition Council (NTC), in place from the start of authoritarian collapse to the first post-uprising elections. The two first provisional administrations exhibited important differences. Key actors in the TPA were ‘soft-liners’ from the old regime and a network of civil society actors, while in the NTC armed groups soon became the most important actors. Functioning state institutions also permitted the TPA to carry out its work more effectively. Finally, the two provisional administrations deployed very different strategies, with the TPA operating on a basis of dialogue and consensus while the NTC often struggled to reach collective decisions. The paper argues that, while many of the differences between the two first provisional administrations can be traced back to different historical and structural influences and these channeled actors’ decisions, the first provisional administrations nonetheless had opportunities to shape later phases of change.

This case study of Libya’s foreign policy after the regime change in 2011 represents a major analytical challenge, since the country’s massive internal dysfunctions – extreme weakness of the state, the emergence of new elites, proliferation of private actors, power competition and widespread violence – have prevented the normalisation of its political and economic life and, consequently, the normalisation of its foreign policy. However, this does not mean that there is no Libyan ‘foreign policy’, or perhaps a number of intertwined foreign policies, as different Libyan political actors have been proactive in establishing contacts and maintaining alliances – often antagonistic – with external powers. Libya’s recent evolution provides some indication of what its foreign policy might look like in the future, once the situation in the country has normalised. On the one hand, it is possible to determine the external determinants on both the regional and global level, which have and will have the most influence on Libyan foreign policy. On the other hand, with all the caution required to interpret the current unstable and fluid situation, an analysis of the political process and the behaviour of the actors in Libya highlights some key issues that constitute the universe of Libyan interests abroad and, consequently, the top priorities of its foreign policy, which will inevitably focus on hydrocarbons and security in any future scenario. Finally, the article addresses whether discontinuity in domestic politics resulting from regime change might lead to a structural modification of Libya’s external behaviour.


This article analyses the practices of deportation and transportation of colonial subjects from Libya, Italy’s former possession, to the metropole throughout the entire colonial period (1911–1943). For the most part, the other colonial powers did not transport colonial subjects to Europe. Analysing the history of the punitive relocations of Libyans, this article addresses the ways in which the Italian case may be considered peculiar. It highlights the overlapping of the penal system and military practices and emphasizes the difficult dialogue between “centre” and “periphery” concerning security issues inside the colony. Finally, it focuses on the experience of the Libyans in Italy and shows how the presence there of colonial subjects in some respects overturned the “colonial situation”, undermining the relationship of power between Italians and North Africans.

مجلة البحوث التاريخية | Journal of Historical Research

1Libya’s foremost research journal for history, in its broadest conception, is the مجلة البحوث التاريخية (Journal of Historical Research), published by the Libyan Center for Historical Studies.* Since 1979, the journal has consistently published articles by Libyan scholars, as well as several well-known European scholars writing in Arabic, on a very broad array of topics. In many cases, in fact, there is little or no research published outside of Libya on these topics, and the journal therefore offers extremely valuable insight into the range of possibilities for research as well as useful starting points for those who can read Arabic. Unfortunately, it is difficult to come by in European or American libraries (in London, the SOAS library has many of the issues)—a goal for the appropriate authority in Libya would be to make back issues available online. The website of the Center shows issues from 2013 as being the most recent. Although it seems not to have been updated for some time now, later issues are not known to me. I hope the journal is still alive.

*The Center was previously called مركز جهاد الليبيين ضد الغزو الايطالي للدراسات التاريخية (The Libyan Resistance against the Italian Invader Center for Historical Studies), later shortened to مركز جهاد الليبين للدراسات التاريخية (The Libyan Resistance Center for Historical Studies).

Libyan Fiction – Banipal Magazine

Banipal, the UK-based magazine of modern Arabic literature in English translation, published an issue dedicated to Libyan Fiction back in 2011. The print edition is reasonably priced and well worth having, but issue 40 also happens to be available online at Banipal’s website! You can read every piece of Libyan fiction in the issue for free. Together with the recent second edition of Ethan Chorin’s Translating Libya (see here), it represents the best and most recent collection of Libyan literature in English translation, and both are absolutely essential introductions to many of today’s important writers.

From the editor’s description of the issue:

“What an amazing coincidence that [Banipal’s 40th issue] should be dedicated to the celebration of Libyan literature at such an extraordinary historical moment in the Arab world when the region is witnessing a chain of uprisings and revolutions against dictatorial and corrupt regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and, finally, Libya.

We at Banipal are very proud of this special issue on Libyan fiction, and with it announce our absolute solidarity with the Libyan people in their aspiration to democratic rule and the exercising of all their rights, the first of which are to express their thoughts and the abolition of all forms of censorship on audio-visual media and literature.

When I met by chance the veteran Libyan writer Ali Mustafa al-Musrati, one evening at the Greek Club in Cairo, February 2007 (at this time exactly), I said to him: “I’m extremely saddened by the neglect of Libyan literature in the Arab world and by the ignorance of the West.” I promised him that Banipal would publish a special feature on the wonderful literature of Libya. And how happy we are to fulfil this promise at this time in particular…”

The Libyan authors whose work appears are (in no particular order): Ghazi Gheblawi, Wafa al-Bueissa, Hisham Matar, Ibrahim al-Koni, Mohammed Mesrati, Razan Naim Moghrabi, Mohammed al-Asfar, Ahmed Fagih, Giuma Bukleb, Omar el-Kiddi, Saleh Snoussi, Najwa Binshatwan, Omar Abulqasim Alkikli, Azza Kamil al-Maghour, Ibrahim Ahmidan, Redwan Abushwesha, Mohammed al-Arishiya, Mohammed al-Anaizi. There is also profile on Ali Mustafa al-Musrati.

Journal: Bulletin of the Faculty of Arts, University of Benghazi

majalla-coverThe Bulletin of the Faculty of Arts, Benghazi (مجلة كلية الاداب، بنغازي) was an academic journal in English and Arabic published at irregular intervals by the University of Benghazi* from 1958 to 2002. It contained articles by noted Libyan as well as European academics, on all manner of subjects.

Since the Bulletin is not held by most libraries in Europe or the US (the SOAS library does have an almost complete set) nor indexed by research databases, I decided to scan and upload the table of contents of issues 1–16 to this blog. I haven’t been able to access issues later than 16 although colleagues in Benghazi tell me that the most recent issue was #23  in 2002. Apparently the Bulletin still exists in name and plans are underway to continue it, but it goes without saying that things are on hold until conditions improve.

1 (1958)2 (1968)3 (1969)4 (1972)5 (1973)6 (1974)7 (1975)8 (1976)9 (1980)10 (1981)  – 11 (1982)12 (1983)13 (1984)14 (1985)15 (1986)16 (1987) — 17 — 18 —19 — 20 —21 —22 —23 (2002)

* Originally the Libyan University (الجامعة الليبية), then from 1973 the University of Gar Younis (جامعة قار يونس), and from 2011 the University of Benghazi (جامعة بنغازي).

Sketch Magazine | مجلة سكتش

A new electronic magazine has just been launched out of Benghazi, and two issues are already online. Sketch Magazine is a digital periodical focusing on architecture and design (in Arabic). Furthermore, it is produced by two young women, Aisha Abdelhaqq and Fatoum al-Fallah.



The first issue includes pieces, with plenty of photographs, about Benghazi’s architectural heritage, including buildings such as the baladiyya (town hall) and the cathedral, as well as a presentation of projects by university architecture students and a selection of creative works. The second issue has a feature on the traditional mud architecture of the Awjila oasis in eastern Libya. Both are worth your reading time!

Journal: Quaderni di Archeologia della Libia

Quaderni di Archeologia della Libia is a journal going back to the 1950s which publishes the results of various types of archeological fieldwork and research concerning places now in Libya. Most articles are in Italian, but some are in English and other languages. As it does not seem to have its own website, I have taken the liberty of posting a link to a list of contents online.

Table of Contents (Issues 1-18) in text format.

Furthermore, most issues (they are not cheap!) can be purchased at the website of the publisher, L’Erma di Bretschneider.

Journal Issue: The Multiple Narratives of the Libyan Revolution

At the end of last year appeared a special issue of the journal Middle East Critique dedicated to Libya and entitled “The Multiple Narratives of the Libyan Revolution” (vol 23 issue 4 2014). It was guest-edited by Matteo Capasso and Igor Cherstich, who write in their guest editors’ Note:

“…since Qadhdhafi’s oil nationalization and the gradual rapprochement of Libya with the Soviet bloc through the purchase of weapons, western media and scholarship have used ‘Qadhdhafi’ and ‘Libya’ as synonyms, reiterating an Orientalist understanding of the Middle East. Scholars, analysts, and journalists depicted the ‘Libyan head for the Libyan whole,’ to quote anthropologist John Davis, assuming that there was no ‘Libya-ness’ beyond the macro-historical meta- narrative of ‘Qadhdhafi-ness.’ The cumbersome and ubiquitous personality of Qadhdhafi obscured Libya’s complexity, and one Libyan became the symbol for all Libyans.

This habit—‘the part for the whole’—has continued even after Mu’ammar Qadhdhafi’s fall. On the one hand, the revolution of 2011 has forced analysts to realize that beyond the Libyan regime there was a Libyan society: A complex universe comprised of tribes, cities, and agents that did not necessarily identify with Qadhdhafi’s project. On the other hand, the discovery of a ‘Libyan multiplicity’ has overwhelmed the analysts who have continued to look desperately for the narrative, the key to unveil Libyan mysteries. Some writers have proposed ‘tribalism’ as the narrative to understand the revolution, others ‘Islamism’, and others, in turn, have demonstrated a fetishist attachment to the old narrative, reading the facts of 2011 simply as the end of ‘Qadhdhafi-ness.’ This Special Issue criticizes this phenomenon by demonstrating that post-revolutionary Libya cannot be understood by focusing on one story, one reading, or one aspect. Rather, it is necessary to consider a multiplicity of narratives, which collectively can be called upon to confront the problematic essentialist and Orientalist representations of the country. We deem this issue as an homage to Libya’s sophisticated intricacy, an attempt to demonstrate that we need to look for the multiple ‘parts’—rather than for ‘the part’—in order to understand the whole.”

The articles featured in this special issue are the following (accessible online with a subscription via the link above):

  • Capasso, Matteo. The Libyan Drawers: ‘Stateless Society,’ ‘Humanitarian Intervention,’ ‘Logic of Exception’ and ‘Traversing the Phantasy’. 387–404.
  • Cherstich, Igor. When Tribesmen do not act Tribal: Libyan Tribalism as Ideology (not as Schizophrenia). 405–421.
  • Kohl, Ines. Libya’s ‘Major Minorities’. Berber, Tuareg and Tebu: Multiple Narratives of Citizenship, Language and Border Control. 423–438.
  • Diana, Elvira. ‘Literary Springs’ in Libyan Literature: Contributions of Writers to the Country’s Emancipation. 439–451.

The articles are unfortunately behind a paywall (unless you have access via a university), but I’m sure the authors would be willing to share PDFs on an individual basis—so drop me a line if you’re interested.

Journal: The Journal of Libyan Studies | مجلة الدراسات الليبية

The Journal of Libyan Studies was published by the (now-defunct) Centre for Libyan Studies based in Oxford from 2000–2003 at a rate of two issues per year (only one appeared in 2003) before folding due to low subscriptions and low infrequently of submissions. In its closing note to its last issue, also posted on the (also now-defunct) diaspora news site Libya Watanona, they stated the following:


Since the journal is not indexed by the usual databases, I’ve taken the liberty of scanning the table of contents of all seven issues. You can find a PDF of them at this link, and I type them out here as well so as to perhaps make them findable by search engines:

1/1 (2000)

Opening the Maliki School: Mohammad b. ‘Ali al-Sanusi’s Views on the Madhab, by Knut Vikør

Libya in Africa: Looking Back, Moving Forward, by Ronald Bruce St John

Lockerbie: Lessons for International Law, by Geoff Simons

Desert Battleground: The Libyan Campaigns in the Second World War, by Adrian Stewart

Impressions of Fezzan in 1822: The Borno Mission Diaries of Lieutenant Hugh Clapperton, R.N., by Jamie Bruce-Lockhart

Progetto Sociale e Territorio nella Colonizzazione Demografica della Libia (1938-1940), by Federico Cresti

1/2 (2000)

Libya in Islamic History, by C. Edmund Bosworth

The Gateway to Africa: Consul Warrington and Tripoli, by John Wright

The Great Man-Made River Project: Technology, Evaluation, Politics, by Geoff Simons

The Evolving Course of Qaddafi’s Foreign Policy, by Ray Takeyh

Nazionalismo e collaborazionismo in Libia: I colloqui di Tripolitania (novembre 1912), by Simone Bernini

Una testimonianza di Alfredo Baccelli sulla Tripolitania (1914), by Salvatore Bono

Sources on Libya at CLS, by Youssef El-Megreisi

2/1 (2001)

Poets, Pilots and Propaganda: Gabriele D’Annunzio and Italy’s Libyan War, 1911-12, by John Wright

From Qaddafi to Qadadfa: Kinship, Political Continuity, and the Libyan Succession, by John Barger

The Abu Sayyaf Hostage Crisis and Libyan Foreign Policy in the Philippines, by Christopher Boucek

Libyan Studies on Italian Colonialism: Bibliographical and Historiographical Considerations, by Pierluigi Venula

Note sui nazionalismo libico: l’attivita dell’associazione ‘Umar al-Mukhtar, by Anna Baldinetti

Gli studi italiani sui colonialismo italiano in Libia, by Nicola Labanca

La vicenda degli operai libici militarizzati durante la Prima Guerra Mondiale: i potesi per una ricerca, by Marco Mozzati

Studi sulle origini del nazionalismo arabo in Libia, by Simone Bernini

2/2 (2001)

Memories of Libya, by Nicola A. Ziadeh

“A Last Resort, an Expedient and an Experiment”: Statehood and Sovereignty in Libya, by Lisa Anderson

The United States, the Cold War & Libyan Independence, by Ronald Bruce St John

Towards Nationhood: European Invasion, Arab Resistance, by Geoff Simons

Libya at Fifty: The (Mis) Fortunes of a Rentier State, by Dirk Vandewalle

Libya’s Short Cut to Independence, by John Wright

Il petrolio nella storia del Regno di Libia, by Simone Bernini

A Guide to a Selection of Manuscripts and Documents in the Public Record Office Relating to Libya, by Youssef El-Megreisi

3/1 (2002)

The Fate of the Permanent Revolution, by Ray Takeyh

The Development of Matrimonial Law in Libya, by Almut Hinz

Gender Law in the Jamahiriyya: An Application to Libya of Mounira Charrad’s Theory of State Development and Women’s Rights, by John Barger

The Unintentional Tourists: British Servicemen in Libya 1940-43, by Adrian Stewart

Local Elites and Italian Town-Planning Procedures in Early Colonial Tripoli 1911-1912, by Nora Lafi and Denis Bocquet

3/2 (2002)

Libya and Human Rights: The UDHR versus The International Green Charter, by Geoff Simons

Libya’s Curious Relationship with Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, by Christopher Boucek

The Image of Colonel Qaddafi in American and British Documents (1969-1971), by Massimiliano Cricco

Nahum Slouschz and the Jews of Tripoli, by John Wright

The Lure of the Sahara: Implications of Libya’s Desert Tourism, by Ines Kohl

Revolutionary Libya in Western  Research, by Hanspeter Mattes

Correnti intellettuali, ideologie e proto-nazionalismo in Libia agli inizi del XXo secolo, by Simone Bernini

4/1 (2003)

Round Up the Usual Suspects: Prospects for Regime Change in Libya, by Ronald Bruce St John

Libya Post-Saddam: Signposts to the Future, by Geoff Simons

“Between Arab Brothers and Islamist Foes”: The Evolution of the Contemporary Islamist Movement in Libya, by Barrie Wharton

The Political Belief System of Qaddafi: Power Politics and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, by Mohamed Berween

Sayyid Ahmad al-Sharif and the First World War, by John Wright

La vendita di armi sovietiche e italiane alia Libia nei documenti americani (1970-1972), by Massimiliano Cricco

Ahmed Al-Sharif e le missione de Khedive (1912-1914), by Simone Bernini

At least one article published in the JLS has now become available online at academia.edu (if more are noticed, please let me know):

Nora Lafi & Denis Boucquet. Local Élites and Italian Town-Planning Procedures in Early Colonial Tripoli 1911-1912. Journal of Libyan Studies 3/1, 59–67.