This exhibition opens the conference “From A Sudan to Another: Social and Political Restructurings Underway”, 10-12 June 2013, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

Download the programme! 


A Photograph Exhibition: Sudan(s) Frontiers & Frontlines

by Jérôme Tubiana
@French Center for Ethiopian Studies Library and Garden.
From 11 to 22 June. Entrance free.

After its independence in 1956, Sudan has seen the upraisal of various rebellions in its peripheries. This has soon led to a fragmentation of the Sudanese territory into areas controlled by the government and others controlled by the rebels, separated by frontlines or fluid « no man’s lands », which were often true « nomads’ lands » – pastoralists having kept crossing the boundaries without necessarily feeling they should belong to one side. With the independence of South Sudan in mid-2011, those frontlines or buffer zones have now become (disputed) borderlands. Researcher and photographer, Jérôme Tubiana has been travelling around those old and new frontiers since 2004, starting with the border between Darfur and Chad, and most recently the new borderlands between North and South Sudan.

I’ve currated this exhibition.
Opening on Monday 11 June 2012. Come!

Amingo, ex. Nuer war child in Gambella, jan. 2008

New Sudan: Peace and Unity

Southern Sudan is the 193rd State recognised by the UN on the 14th of July 2011. Happy Birthday Southern Sudan: I wish you peace and unity. With a special thought to my friend Amingo I met in Gambella, the Ethiopian border town back in 2008. Here’s an excerpt of my 2008 Gambella Stories, a history of violence, multiculturalism, failed dreams of modernisation in a remote place:*

Amingo is a Sudanese Nuer. He was a war child and one of the refugees who arrived in the 1980’s when the Sudanese civil war opposing the Northern Sudanese government to the Southern Sudanese guerilla resumed. The leadership of the Guerrilla was based in a refugee camp near Gambella city, and almost ruled on the region. It is a long story. Read the rest of this entry »

My article  on Sudanese museums and  politics of identity in the transitional period 2005-2011 published in Egypte-Monde Arabe 5-6 (2009) on Heritage-Politics in Egypt and Sudan is now available on line on along with the rest of the book.

This article is part of the chapter 3: Politicisation and instrumentalization of Heritage in Sudan. This topic was investigated for the first time. The chapter comprises resourceful contributions of Iris Seri-Hersh (Iremam, Aix-en-Provence) on the recurrent use of the narratives of the Mahdiya in Sudanese politics, Ida Dykorn Heierland (Bergen University) on the political and economic use of archeological heritage in Naqa, Coralie Gradel (SFDAS, Khartoum) on the involvement of Lille III University in Sudanese archaeological research since the 1950’s and Constanza de Simone (UNESCO, Cairo) on the projected museum in Wadi Halfa.

Existing and planned museums in Sudan. ©Jean-Gabriel Leturcq, 2009

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Nouvelle publication !

December 24, 2009

Pratiques du patrimoine
en Egypte et au Soudan

The newest book I coedited for the CEDEJ (Cairo, MAEE/CNRS USR 3123) scientific journal Egypte/Monde arabe, was realeased on the 21st of December in Cairo. It will be available soon on line at Meanwhile, you can order it by clicking on the cover below (they ship worldwide!). I’m quite happy with the outcome of that long editing process: it’s elegant and the content is definitively original. Read below the abstract of the book and download the table of content.

EMA 5-6 / ©Golo

Comment et pourquoi invente-t-on du patrimoine en Égypte et au Soudan ? Quels sont les objectifs qui sous-tendent les phénomènes de diversifications et d’inflation patrimoniales qui y sont aujourd’hui à l’œuvre ? Telles sont les questions explorées dans ce numéro d’ÉgypteMonde Arabe.

L’Égypte et le Soudan offrent des exemples remarquables de patrimonialisation. Du Caire à Siwa en passant par Alexandrie, de Naqa à Wadi Halfa en passant par Khartoum, du patrimoine archéologique, architectural et urbain au patrimoine folklorique, ethnologique et religieux, l’analyse de ces situations suggère des rapprochements stimulants. Les treize contributeurs à cet ouvrage – architectes, anthropologues, musicologues, historiens, archéologues, médiateurs – ont en commun de chercher à cerner le cheminement qui amène à tenir pour acquis l’existence et l’importance des valeurs patrimoniales attribuées à des ensembles d’objets, lieux, évènements ou traditions.

Cet ouvrage rend compte de la difficulté d’appréhension d’un sujet encore très peu exploré en Égypte et au Soudan et met en lumière une nouvelle donne patrimoniale traduisant une mutation de l’agencement des territoires et des identités. En ce sens, il apporte un éclairage inédit à propos des articulations, des décalages, voire des hiatus existants, entre « fabrication » et « pratiques » du patrimoine.

Omnia Aboukorah, architecte et docteur en géographie, est chercheuse associée au CEDEJ. Spécialiste des processus de patrimonialisation du cadre architectural et urbain, elle s’est particulièrement intéressée aux terrains égyptien et éthiopien.

Jean-Gabriel Leturcq est doctorant en Histoire à l’EHESS (Paris) et chercheur associé au CEDEJ. Il est spécialiste des politiques du patrimoine et des musées en Égypte et au Soudan.

Avec les contributions de Mercedes Volait, Vincent Battesti, Karim ben Meriem, Severine Gabry,  Emmanuelle Perrin, Galila El Kady, Thomas Fracapani, Aymé Lebon, Iris Seri-Hersch, Ida Dyrkorn-Heierland, Coralie Gradel, Costanza de Simone.

Consulter le sommaire en cliquant ici: Sommaire EMA 5-6

Negative picture of Nuer boys relaxing (Evans-Prtichard, ca. 1930)

How to disentangle the conflictive logics of cultural and ethnic diversity? How to understand the complexity of cultural diversity? These questions lead my research (and projects) in Sudan and Ethiopian borderlands. I have studied diversity through the angle of heritage-making policies. Heritage is  a byproduct of modernity.  Studying heritage-making, i.e. understanding the value and the role actors as well as local population assert to heritage while  institutionalising it, enables the researcher to apprehend  narratives of culture, identity and diversity developed by local insiders and outsiders. Thus, one can understand how the diverse and ofter opposed groups perceive each other and how their mutual reflective perception defines the limits of identity.  However, drawing on this reflection,  identities appear to be caught in dynamic and moveable nexus rather than tight clusters.

Influenced by Alfredo Gonzalez-Ruibal research on failures of modernity in extreme borderlands and Fredrik Barth‘s work on boundaries of ethnicity, I carried out fieldwork research in Gambella region, on the  border with Ethiopia and Sudan in January-February 2008. Below is presented one of the first outcomes of this research as proposed to the AEGIS-ECAS conference in Leipzig, 2009 in the panel Writing the Oral: the building of history and the notions of ‘past’ and ‘present’ convened by Manuela Palmeirim and Manuel João Ramos.

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July 18, 2009

What’s on the shelf right now?

Cairo july 2009
Cairo july 2009

I got busy lately and disapeared from the outside world. I canceled all my spring conferences but in my underground office, it’s sprouting!
I’m finishing my PhD dissertation (still): I wrote the parts on the Unesco/Egypt/Sudan Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia. I took a move from the official catechism of International (generous) cooperation… it’s all about politics, business and diplomacy… at the very end, it’s about culture. It rocks! More will be published here, soon.

I’m following Farouk Hosni‘s Campaign for the Unesco’s head job. It’s more interesting than a Ramadan musalsal (telenovela, feuilleton). This campaign is much about talking (normalisation, no normalisation with Israel, etc.),  much about diplomacy, so few on Unesco, on culture, science and education… I’m planning to publish something before the election round in September 2009.

I’m also finishing the editing process of next issue of the Cedej Journal Egypte/Monde Arabe on heritage-making policies in Egypt and Sudan. To be released after Ramadan in October (insha’Allah), we are planning to publish simultaneously a paper and a digital edition!  Keep updated!

I’m looking for a job: my plans to get a research position in Sudan are postponed. I don’t give up with working on heritage, identity and violence. I’m already dreaming  of a postdoc somewhere else. I will have to explain all this here, soon.

What else?

You can still email me (leturcq[at] I love to reply emails! Or send me a postcard from your holidays… I wish a nice summer to all! Don’t forget to visit museums, sites and ask for more exhibitions all over the world !!*

Heritage Policies in Sudan

January 5, 2009

Here is the  powerpoint presentation of a conference given in the Biannual conference (ECAS) of the European network of African Studies (AEGIS) in Leiden 2007.

It covers one of my favorite topics:

heritage policies in the “post-conflict” Sudan.


This paper is an abstract of the communication given in the ECAS, the second biennial conference of AEGIS (Africa-Europe Group for Interdisplinary Studies) in Leiden, on the 10th of July 2007. This article presents the results of my fieldwork research in Sudan in April-March 2006 and January-April 2007. A complete version of this article will published in Egypte/Monde arabe 5-6 on Heritage policies in Egypt and Sudan (forthcoming, first semester 2008).

This paper aims at reconsidering the evidence of national identity construction through a reflection on heritage-making and its institutional mechanisms in the Sudanese context.

The fifty-years civil war of Sudan has been considered by many analysts as a war of competing identities [1]. Since the signature of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, the reconstruction of the country is presented as the priority of the authorities, but the internal context remains very conflictive (e.g. Darfur) and the national integrity is still problematic (referendum on the autonomy of Southern Sudan in 2011). However, cultural heritage is being promoted by national authorities and international agencies according to the CPA implementation agenda. Heritage is used as a resource to develop cultural diversity as well as a national identity.

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This is the power point of my presentation to the Centro de Estudos Africanos da Universidade do Porto (CEUAP -Porto) conference of the 2nd – 3rd of October 2008:

Water in Africa: hydro-optimism or hydro-pessimism?

Here is my abstract:



Large dams’ construction is back in Africa. This paper analyses the frictions between potential economic benefits generated by large-scale dams and the social and cultural impacts, for the specific case of the Merowe Dam in the Nile River, Northern Sudan. This paper focuses on the controversies surrounding the Merowe Dam planning and construction (2002-2008 ) and its impacts on society and culture. The friction between different visions of development will be analysed in order to assess the prospects of an equitable socio-economic development related to large-scale dams’ projects, an ideal hydro-optimistic vision.

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