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Episode 15: Melankhalifa (Mahdism)

Along with the captivity narrative of Father Joseph Ohrwalder that we shared in our previous page of show notes, the account of Rudolf Carl von Slatin provides an enlightening look at the inner workings of the Mahdiyya. Nevertheless, both of these books were written by European authors harboring varying degrees of resentment toward the Mahdist movement. This was especially true for Slatin who was a prisoner of war in the Mahdist State from 1883 until his escape in 1895. Thus, these European accounts must be analyzed critically and supplemented with additional sources.         

In writing this episode, we consulted the following monographs and article:​


Green, Dominic. Three Empires on the Nile: The Victorian Jihad, 1869-1899. New York: Free Press, 2007.   

Holt, P.M., and M.W. Daly. A History of the Sudan: From the Coming of Islam to the Present Day. 6th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson, 2011. 

Nugud, Mohamed Ibrahim. Slavery in the Sudan: History, Documents, and Commentary. Edited by Sharon Barnes. Translated by Asma Mohamed Abdel Halim. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.  

Searcy, Kim. The Formation of the Sudanese Mahdist State: Ceremony and Symbols of Authority, 1882-1898. Leiden: Brill, 2011. 




Mahmoud, ​Mahgoub El-Tigani. "The Mahdist Correctional System in the Sudan: Aspects of Ideology and Politics." Africa Today 28, no. 2 (1981).   

Nakash, ​Yitzhak. "Fiscal and Monetary Systems in the Mahdist Sudan, 1881-1898." International Journal of Middle East Studies 20, no. 3 (1988).

Seri-Hersch, Iris. "Confronting a Christian Neighbor: Sudanese Representations of Ethiopia in the Early Mahdist Period, 1885-89." International Journal of Middle East Studies 41, no. 2 (2009). Available online here

Seri-Hersch, Iris. "'Transborder' Exchanges of People, Things, and Representations: Revisiting the Conflict Between Mahdist Sudan and Christian Ethiopia, 1885–1889." International Journal of African Historical Studies 43, no. 1 (2010). 

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