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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Serfs', civics and social action: Islamic identity and grassroots activism during Eritrea's Tigre emancipation movement, 1941-1946
Author:Venosa, Joseph L.ISNI
Periodical:Islamic Africa (ISSN 2154-0993)
Geographic term:Eritrea
social classes
political action
External link:http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/10.5192/215409930402165
Abstract:This article examines the growth of political activism within various Tigre-speaking communities across Eritrea during the early and mid-1940s. Using previously overlooked archival as well as oral sources, it explores how someTigre 'serfs' became increasingly proactive in challenging their subordinate position against local landlords, even as communities experienced a haphazard transition from Italian to temporary British colonial rule. Refusing to comply with the traditional payment of customary dues and taxes to local landlords, disenfranchised Tigre across Eritrea's Western Province pressed their claims for economic and even political independence. In the process, some Tigre leaders also demonstrated the complex and often problematic nature of Islamic 'identity' as the emancipation movement expanded. Activists' overall success also depended upon their ability to articulate a broad, Islamic-inspired understanding of the need to rectify social and economic injustice, even though such actions challenged the existing religious institutions and authorities in the region, particularly the leadership within the dominant Khatmiyya Sufi order. Ultimately, the surge in antifeudal activism helped enrich the emerging public discourse across the colony, which fused ideas of political independence with the need to ensure the collective security of the region's various Muslim communities, including those residing beyond the country's Tigre-speaking areas. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]