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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Constructing Emptiness: Islam, Violence and Terror in the Historical Making of the Sahara
Author:McDougall, E. AnnISNI
Periodical:Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Geographic term:Sahara
Religion and Witchcraft
History and Exploration
Law, Human Rights and Violence
External links:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02589000601157022
Abstract:All the essays in this special number on the myth or reality of the 'war on terror' (equals establishing control of any oil resources in the Sahara and the Sahel) deal with the present problems in the region at the moment, examining them from the point of view of history, ethnography, anthropology, sociology, and politics. They cover the key players: Algeria, Mauritania, Mali, and Chad. In this first article the author examines the historical background to the situation. She postulates an inimical Western version of the area, frequently based on economic rivalry (initially for the slave and salt trade across the Sahara which the Europeans sought to divert to the coastal areas). These views have been accompanied by a splitting of Africa into two: the north which belongs to the Mediterranean and the rest of Africa south of the Sahara. An artificial division which completely obscures the thriving trade which has always interlinked the continent. The north and the desert have also continually been linked with Islam in a hostile fashion, the religion being a convenient peg from which to hang Western fears. The author examines the earliest accounts of the region, such as that of Cornelius Hodges, and traces the nurturing of this image of hostility and cruelty in 'the fearful void' right down to the present. She also examines the artistic hand of academics in reinforcing this image, continually conjuring with the concepts of race and religion. She finally touches upon the relations of the Sahara's neighbours with the desert. Bibliogr., notes. [ASC Leiden abstract]