The Mahdist Revolt in Sudan: Debt, Time and a Messianic Critique of Political Economy

Key information

5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Brunei Gallery

About this event

Hengameh Ziai (SOAS, University of London)


The Mahdiyya has been understood in binary terms, as either a “religious” movement or “economic” backlash. Rarely has the Mahdi been treated as an intellectual, in the manner of other nineteenth century intellectuals. Yet, when we read his work carefully, we can see him critiquing not only economic conditions but the very transformations—brought about by Ottoman colonial modernity—that separated “economic” transactions from the “ethical” or “religious” domain. We find a political critique but also an epistemological critique. At the heart of the Mahdist project, lies an engagement with questions land, debt and Islam. This presentation will take the Mahdi seriously: using his own conceptual lenses to shed new light on Sudanese history, especially key transformations that took place from late Sinnar to the beginning of British colonial rule.   

History Department Research Seminar

Wednesdays, 5pm - 6:30pm, room BG01 (Brunei Gallery) and online via Zoom

Please contact Wayne Dooling or Shabnum Tejani if you wish to receive an invite to a seminar or the Zoom link.