In This Review

Living with Colonialism: Nationalism and Culture in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
Living with Colonialism: Nationalism and Culture in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
By Heather J. Sharkey
University of California Press, 2003, 248 pp

This well-researched study looks at how British colonialism in Sudan created a penny-wise machinery of domination by training native subalterns who, in due course, formulated their own national identity and ideology of anticolonialism. The British drew their clerks, teachers, and technicians from a narrow upper stratum of "Arabized" families from the riverain north in the hope of co-opting this potentially disruptive element of indigenous society. For half a century, one academic institution, Khartoum's Gordon College, trained almost all the members of this all-male, monocultural elite, who then went on to inherit leadership of Sudan at independence in 1956, leaving the non-Arabic-speaking, non-Muslim peoples of the country's peripheries almost as excluded from status, opportunity, and power as they had been at the dawn of the colonial period. This arrangement made perfect sense to the British at the time, as it did to their anointed political heirs, but Sudan has paid the price ever since. To paint a fuller historical picture, more might have been said about the colonial experience of Sudan's southern and other peripheral peoples.