In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Sudan and South Sudan

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Bibliographies
  • Biographical Dictionaries
  • Journals
  • Anthologies
  • Geography
  • Anthropology
  • Women and Children
  • Agriculture
  • Economy
  • Literature and Criticism
  • Sudanese Abroad

African Studies Sudan and South Sudan
Jay Spaulding
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 April 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 April 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846733-0063


The land governed during the first half of the 20th century as the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (now the independent countries of the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan) has played a significant role in human history from very early times. The Sudan as explored by archaeologists figures significantly in scholarly discussions of prehistory, and as an integral if peripheral part of the ancient, classical, and medieval ecumene of the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern world. Since the 14th century the adoption of Islam and Arab identity by some Sudanese, the adoption of Christianity and the acquisition of English by others, and resistance to both trends by many have played an important formative role in the development of modern Sudanese political and cultural life. The growth of commercial agriculture during the late 20th century and particularly the development of oil production at the dawn of the 21st century elevated new elites and radically challenged groups excluded from new forms of wealth. The Sudan is a region united by some time-honored elements of cultural style, but very diverse in regard to language, religion, ethnic organization, mode of livelihood, and social class. The experience of the region since independence in 1956 has been troubled, and by the 21st century it had become a focus for international concern and various forms of intervention.

General Overviews

Among the numerous works that introduce the Sudan in general terms, two worthy of special consideration are the early-20th-century compendium Shuqayr 1903 and the more recent study Metz 1992.

  • Metz, Helen Chapin. Sudan: A Country Study. 4th ed. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1992.

    Contemporary introduction that touches on numerous points of general interest.

  • Shuqayr, Naʿum [Naum Shoucair]. Taʾrīkh al-Südān al-qadīm waʾl-hadīth wa-jughrāfiyathu. 3 vols. Cairo: Agent-General’s Office, Sudan Government, 1903.

    An invaluable study based upon information gathered by Anglo-Egyptian intelligence during the years of the Mahdist State.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.