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The African Studies Center (ASC) sponsors conferences, lectures, exhibits, film series, and cultural performances throughout the year. These events are designed to foster understanding of Africa among members of the U-M community and the public  and to advance the exchange of resources and knowledge between U-M and its partners in Africa.

DAAS Africa Workshop “Get Along without It”: Contested Domestic Desires in Imperial Sudan

Marie Grace Brown (History, University of Kansas, Sudan)
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
4:00-6:00 PM
4701 (DAAS Conference Room) Haven Hall Map
In recent scholarship and past imperial logic, the colonial marital home has stood as a symbol of civility, stability, and imperial order. However, a close examination of British civil servants’ domestic desires and relationships in Sudan reveal domesticity as a site of instability and persistent negotiation. Never formally declared a colony, Sudan’s marginal position within the British Empire resulted, in turn, in a marginalization of domestic desires, which were hidden, ignored, or relegated to “back-home” in England. Working with an expanded understanding of “domestic,” this paper traces complex and contested intimacies through a homosocial culture of bachelors, shifting relationships with Sudanese household help, and a generous yet disruptive annual leave policy. It reanimates the experiences of male and female civil servants, recasting them from fixed models of state power and instead recognizing their much more vulnerable position as desiring subjects in search of domestic care and comforts.


Marie Grace Brown (B.A., Bryn Mawr College; Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) is an Associate Professor of Middle East History at the University of Kansas. Her award-winning first book, Khartoum at Night: Fashion and Body Politics in Imperial Sudan (Stanford University Press, 2017), argues that Sudanese women used fashion and their bodies to mark and make meaning of the shifting sociopolitical systems of imperial rule. Before her career in academia, Brown worked at a nonprofit providing legal assistance to immigrant women fleeing gender-based violence. Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the American Association of University Women, the Social Science Research Council, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.
Building: Haven Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Africa, History, Middle East Studies
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Department for Afroamerican and African Studies, African Studies Center