Smugglers and Saints of the Sahara: Regional Connectivity in the Twentieth Century (African Studies)

Smugglers and Saints of the Sahara: Regional Connectivity in the Twentieth Century (African Studies)

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Dr Judith Scheele
Cambridge University Press, 7/5/2012
EAN 9781107022126, ISBN10: 1107022126

Hardcover, 288 pages, 22.8 x 15.2 x 2.1 cm
Language: English

Smugglers and Saints of the Sahara describes life on and around the contemporary border between Algeria and Mali, exploring current developments in a broad historical and socioeconomic context. Basing her findings on long-term fieldwork with trading families, truckers, smugglers and scholars, Judith Scheele investigates the history of contemporary patterns of mobility from the late nineteenth century to the present. Through a careful analysis of family ties and local economic records, this book shows how long-standing mobility and interdependence have shaped not only local economies, but also notions of social hierarchy, morality and political legitimacy, creating patterns that endure today and that need to be taken into account in any empirically-grounded study of the region.

1. Founding saints and moneylenders
regional ecologies and oasis settlement
2. Saints on trucks
Algerian traders and settlement in the biblād al-sūdān
3. Dates, cocaine, and AK 47s
moral conundrums on the Algero–Malian border
4. Struggles over encompassment
hierarchy, genealogies, and their contemporary use
5. Universal law and local containment
assemblies, qudāh and the quest for civilisation
6. Settlement, mobility, and the daily pitfalls of Saharan cosmopolitanism
Saharan connectivity and the 'swamp of terror'

Advance praise: 'The Sahara is neither a romantic land of luxury-laden camel caravans nor a vast empty darkness hiding the likes of al-Qa'ida. Judith Scheele's Sahara is the most dynamic 'space' in today's Africa, one brought alive by ceaselessly expanding and contracting human networks that invest in 'place' even as mobility defines 'community'. Scheele brings us into al-Khalil, the infamous Malian-Algerian-frontier trans-shipment centre where 'men are men', virtue non-existent and 'family-loyalty' the definition of survival. She introduces us to the multi-national work teams of enormous transport trucks that criss-cross the desert with foodstuffs, cigarettes and cocaine, licit and illicit loads side-by-side, protected by always-present AK-47s. During sixteen months, Scheele ... observed, questioned, interviewed ... [and] accessed family-held Arabic documents ... Scholarship is impressive, arguments convincing; this is the book many who know the Sahara will wish they had written.' E. Ann McDougall, University of Alberta