مجلة البحوث التاريخية | Journal of Historical Research

Libya’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.

*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).

Archaeological Horizons | افاق اثرية

Archaeological Horizons (افاق اثرية) is the name of an Arabic-language periodical about Libyan archaeology, archaeological sites, museums, and all other related matters. It was founded in July 2011, during an explosion of print media that occurred once cities like Benghazi were free of the regime, and its most recent issue appeared in September 2014. All 19 issues of the periodical are available for free download as PDFs at the following site: http://afaqatherya.com/

The periodical is full of all sorts of interesting information—there are articles about numerous different sites in Libya (from ancient to early modern), news about digs and expeditions, calls for action regarding antiquities lost during the regime or during the revolution, and even the occasional publication (and translation into Arabic if necessary) of Islamic grave inscriptions or pre-Islamic ones. Foreign works on Libyan archaeological matters are also taken into notice; for example, in Issue 19 (2014), the 2013 volume of the journal Libyan Studies is reviewed.

For those who are interested in the entire gamut of Libyan archaeology — from the perspective of Libyan writers(!) — this periodical provides great starting points as well as up-to-date news. Given recent upheavals in Libya, its publication has no doubt had to take a break, but here’s hoping we see Issue 20 in the near future…

A Libyan publication on the Tebu

d8bad984d8a7d981Another important community in Libya, which we mention on this blog for the first time, are the Tebu, who live mainly in southern Libya. Essentially nothing, as is repeated here all too often, has been published about the Tebu of Libya in Western scholarship [1]. Nevertheless, the Tebu have come increasingly into the news as a result of conflicts in southern Libya. Also, given the restrictive language and minority-related policies of the regime and subsequent turmoil, little in Arabic was produced in Libya, either.

Happily an Arabic book about the Tebu in Libya has appeared recently (as Lameen informs me),  The Book of the Tebu by ‘Abd al-Mun‘im al-Maḥjūb. I haven’t found a copy yet, so can’t vouch for it, but draw attention to it here as it is a good sign that Libyan scholars and publishers are devoting resources to the study of communities such as the Tebu. Here is part of its introduction:

إن هذا الكتاب يساهم في إعادة ترتيب فصول وأولويات التاريخ الثقافي للصحراء الكبرى، من خلال التعريف بالتبو ودراسة لغتهم واستقصاء تاريخهم المجهول وعرض بعض الأنماط الفولكلوريّة التي تختزل كيانهم الاجتماعي، كما يهدف إلى تجريد هذه الموضوعات من طابع الحداثة الذي يغلب عليها في الآراء والانطباعات السائدة الآن، وذلك بإعادة اقتراح إحداثياتها التأسيسيّة وموضَعتها من جديد ضمن سياقاتها التاريخية وتراتيبها الكرونولوجية، وهو الأمر الذي تنطبق ضرورته على تاريخ الأقوام المجاورة أيضاً”. ينقسم الكتاب إلى ثلاثة فصول على النحو التالي: الفصل الأول يعرّف بالتبو في محيطهم الجغرافي والديموغرافي والإثني، ويقرأ أصولهم ممّا توفّر من إشارات نادرة تركها المؤرخون القدامى. الفصل الثاني: يتناول التكوين الاجتماعي والتقسيم الطبقي والأعرافهم والتقاليد والطقوس والممارسات الاجتماعية والفنون الفولكلوريّة والمهارات في استخدام عناصر البيئة الصحراوية لصنع الأدوات والمستعملات اليومية. الفصل الثالث: يتناول لغة التبو وإشكاليتي تدوينها وتصنيفها، وبحث فرضيات نشأتها الأولى، مذيلاً بمسرد لغوي مقارن، وبعض تعابيرهم الشفوية. كما يجد القارئ في نهاية هذا الكتاب ملحقاً بمختارات ممّا كتبه الرحّالة الذين مرّوا بالتبو ودوّنوا عنهم ما شاهدوه عياناً أو لاحظوه استنتاجاً، وذلك من خلال نماذج تختزل مثيلاتها من كتابات القرن الثامن عشر والقرن التاسع عشر وأوائل القرن العشرين

 1. The only published study that I could find after extended searching was racial science drivel about Tebu living in Kufra which I won’t dignify with a reference here.

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!