Empire and the Nuer: Documents and Texts from the Pacification of the Southern Sudan 1898-1930

ISBN : 9780197265888

Douglas H. Johnson
350 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Mar 2016
Fontes Historiae Africanae, New Series: Sources of African History
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The Nuer people of South Sudan hold a special if unwanted place in imperial history as the object of Britain's last 'pacification' campaign in Africa. Territorial conquest was completed with the annexation of the independent sultanate of Darfur in 1916, but military pacification continued throughout the first thirty years of the twentieth century, culminating in 'the Nuer Settlement'. These campaigns are important for another reason: they were the cause of the Sudan government redirecting the anthropologist, E.E. Evans-Pritchard (against his will) to study of the Nuer, which he did in a succession of field visits between 1930 and 1936. The trilogy of monographs that he published were formative in the development of British social anthropology and are one of the main reasons why the Nuer are so well-known internationally today. This volume consists of twenty-five administrative reports, supplemented by transcripts of five interviews with Nuer and Dinka participants. Together these cover the significant events in the contact, conquest, and pacification of the Nuer from 1898 to 1930. The documents contain some of the earliest twentieth-century ethnographic descriptions of the Nuer and their Dinka and Mabaan neighbours. Together these sources provide an historical context for further understanding Evans-Pritchard's ethnography, as well as a more detailed understanding of the events that led to incorporation of the Nuer into the colonial state. The final document is an abstract of a talk given by Evans-Pritchard to the Oxford Summer School on Colonial Administration in 1938. This contained observations, based in part on his fieldwork among the Nuer, which are relevant today to understanding the post-independence history of South Sudan. This book is a significant contribution to the source materials on the history of South Sudan and for the study of the relationship between colonial states and the development of the discipline of social anthropology.


Documents and Texts
1 First contact
2 First military patrol
3 Ngundeng and the Turuk
4 The Nuer and Dinka of the Zeraf valley
5 First visit to the prophet Deng Laka
6 Confirmation of Ngundeng's death
7 Second visit to the prophet Deng Laka
8 Fixing a tribal boundary
9 Attack on Duk Fadiat - 1
10 Attack on Duk Fadiat - 2
11 Tribute collection in the Zeraf valley
12 The death of Macar Diu
13 Intelligence on the Eastern Jikany
14 Intelligence on the Lou Nuer
15 Nuer cattle raids along the Dinka border
16 The Mabaan and the Nuer
17 Pacification of the Eastern Jikany
18 Intelligence on the Western Nuer
19 Contact with the prophet Maani
20 In defence of Guek Ngundeng - 1
21 In defence of Guek Ngundeng - 2
22 Pacification of the Lou Nuer - 1
23 Contact with a Gaawar prophet
24 Dual Diu's attack on a police post - 1
25 Dual Diu's attack on a police post - 2
26 Pacification of the Lou Nuer - 2
27 Capture of the prophet Dual Diu
28 Gaawar views
29 Dinka views
30 Epilogue

About the author: 

Douglas H. Johnson is an historian specialising in the history of South Sudan and North East Africa. He is a former academic publisher, archivist, relief worker, and International Expert on the Abyei Boundaries Commission. He has written, edited and co-edited eleven volumes and is a past winner of the Amaury Talbot Prize for African Anthropology and the African Studies Association's Paul Hair text prize. In addition, he has published over two hundred academic and non-academic articles. Currently he is working with the Rift Valley Institute, of which he is a fellow, on the restoration of the South Sudan National Archive.

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