Anthropology of Law in Muslim Sudan

Land, Courts and the Plurality of Practices


Anthropology of Law in Muslim Sudan analyses the hybridity of law systems and the plurality of legal practices in rural and urban contexts of contemporary Sudan, shedding light on the complex relation between Islam and society. It is the outcome of the international research program ANDROMAQUE (Anthropologie du Droit dans les Mondes Musulmans Africains et Asiatiques), funded by the French ANR (Agence National de la Recherche) between 2011 and 2014. Crossing two disciplinary perspectives, anthropology and law, the present volume contains original fieldwork data on contemporary urban and rural Sudan. Focusing on two major domains, land property and courts, several case studies demonstrate the relevance of an approach based on “legal practices” to underline, first, the plurality and hybridity of law systems and the relative role of the Islamic reference in Sudanese society, and, secondly, the reshaping of legal behaviors and norms after the breaking point of South Sudan's independence in 2011.

Contributors are: Zahir M. Abdal-Kareem; Azza A. Abdel Aziz; Musa A. Abdul-Jalil; Munzoul M.A. Assal; Mohamed A. Babiker; Yazid Ben Hounet; Barbara Casciarri; Baudoin Dupret; Philippe Gout; Enrico Ille.

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Barbara Casciarri, (Ph.D. 1997, EHESS, Paris) is Associate Professor of Anthropology at University Paris 8, France, and co-editor of Multidimensional Change in Sudan 1989-2011, (Oxford/New York 2015). She has conducted fieldwork on economic and political anthropology in Sudan and Morocco.

Mohamed A. Babiker, (Ph.D. 2004, Nottingham, UK) is Associate Professor of International Law, Founding Director of the Human Rights Centre and Head of International and Comparative Law at the University of Khartoum. He is the co-editor of Constitution Making and Human Rights Protection in South Sudan (London 2018).
"The authors’ intention in writing the papers included in this volume is stated to be the exploration of property phenomena; furthermore, the intension to offer an ethnographic description of the practices linked to them. Obviously trying to balance between the impact of culture and the legal environment within which the legal praxis is applied, this is a research about the legal practices in an overwhelmingly Muslim environment - not the depiction of an ‘Islamic’ culture observed through the prism of law. This is what makes this study anthropological, as far as I am concerned. Valuable tool for students of law and (of course) anthropologists."
- Stavros Nikolaidis, in: Journal of Oriental and African Studies 28 (2019)

"Cet ouvrage, de forme très soignée, extrêmement riche et varié dans ses ethnographies de pratiques saisies sur le vif et très homogène dans ses approches, constitue non seulement un apport marquant à l’anthropologie juridique du Soudan (pays passionnant, ne serait-ce qu’au vu des événements récents), mais encore un modèle de collaboration entre anthropologues et juristes."
- François Ireton, CNRS, Paris, in: Cahiers d'etudes africaines 240 (2020)
All interested in socio-cultural and historical processes in contemporary Sudan; students & scholars of religion and society in Muslim-majority African countries, also in comparison to countries in the Middle East.
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