Political intelligence, colonial ethnography, and analytical anthropology in the Sudan
in Ordering Africa
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This chapter focuses on the role of the Sudan Intelligence Report (SIR) and Sudan Notes and Records (SNR) as media for ethnographic writing and documentation. The administration of the Sudan in 1899 was governed by the legal fact that the Sudan was an Egyptian colony, but Egypt itself was under British occupation. The Wellcome Research Laboratories reports were infrequent and ended in 1911. In the 1930s Sudan service recruits were sent to Oxford to attend the Tropical African Services Course set up for Colonial Office recruits. Religion in the Sudan was a political issue. The fact that the origins of The Tribes of Northern and Central Kordofan lay in administrative reports does not detract from its place in the development of Sudanese ethnography. Willis's 'The cult of Deng' was a travesty of ethnography, but indirectly it helped to stimulate the further professionalization of anthropological research and reporting in the Sudan.

Ordering Africa

Anthropology, European imperialism, and the politics of knowledge


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