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Wanderings: Sudanese Migrants and Exiles in North America (The Anthropology of Contemporary Issues) [Paperback]

Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

August 29, 2002 080148779X 978-0801487798 1
In one of the first books devoted to the experience of Sudanese immigrants and exiles in the United States, Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf places her community into context, showing its increasing historical and political significance. Abusharaf herself participates in many aspects of life in the migrant community and in the Sudan in ways that a non-Sudanese could not. Attending religious events, social gatherings, and meetings, Abusharaf discovers that a national sense of common Sudanese identity emerges more strongly among immigrants in North America than it does at home. Sudanese immigrants use informal transatlantic networks to ease the immigration process, and act on the local level to help others find housing and employment. They gather for political activism, to share feasts, and to celebrate marriages, always negotiating between tradition and the challenges of their new surroundings.Abusharaf uses a combination of conversations with Sudanese friends, interviews, and life histories to portray several groups among the Sudanese immigrant population: Southern war refugees, including the "Lost Boys of Sudan," spent years in camps in Kenya or Uganda; professionals were expelled from the Gulf because their country's rulers backed Iraq in the Gulf War; Christian Copts suffered from religious persecution in Sudan; and women migrated alone.

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Wanderings: Sudanese Migrants and Exiles in North America (The Anthropology of Contemporary Issues) + Transforming Displaced Women in Sudan: Politics and the Body in a Squatter Settlement
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Editorial Reviews


"This interesting study presents a nicely textured picture of the Sudanese diaspora in the United States and Canada, surveying the reasons people left home, their economic and social coping strategies, their reluctance to assimilate non-Sudanese lifestyles, and their attitudes regarding religion, traditional customs, women's status, and politics at home."—Foreign Affairs, November/December 2002.

"Abusharaf discusses the variety of Sudanese migrants who came to North America in the 20th century. . . . Wanderings is valuable in demonstrating recent immigrant attitudes toward a new environment."—Choice, September 2003

"Wanderings is a sensitive portrayal of the diverse Sudanese community in North America. It is also highly readable, partly because the author allows immigrants to speak for themselves by frequently including excerpts from conversations and interviews. The details of this book are Sudanese, but the core immigrant experience it examines—of struggling to make a new home while trying to preserve links to an old one—has universal resonance and appeal."—Heather J. Sharkey, International Journal of African Historical Studies 36:1, 2003

"Wanderings is highly readable and an appropriate mix of theory and personal narratives. Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf makes good use of the data, and employs a methodology that reveals and clarifies rather than mystifies."—Sondra Hale, University of California Los Angeles

"This rare anthropological investigation of Sudanese migration to the New World is a valuable contribution to the study of transnational migration. Informed by global political economic developments, Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf's analysis of the complexities of social identity provides a challenging alternative to the classic conception of community as a territorially based entity. This meticulously researched and well-written book holds promise of broad appeal among both specialists and non-specialists concerned with contemporary developments in African/Arab societies, as well as issues of race and ethnicity in the U.S."—Soheir A. Morsy, Independent Scholar and International Consultant

Product Details

  • Series: The Anthropology of Contemporary Issues
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (August 29, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080148779X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801487798
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,607,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book to gain insight on a Sunni Muslim, one Sati Majid. According to the book Mr Majid ventured from the Sudan to America in 1904. And he stayed until 1929. He propagated Islam in New York, Pittsbugh and a few other major cities.

The book includes the correspondence of Majid to Noble Drew Ali. Sati Majid thought the teachings of Prophet Noble Drew Ali to be falsehood. So he left America and sought a fatwa against Noble Drew from Al Azhar university. The book mentions how hard this was to obtain for Majid. At any rate with the abolishment of the Caliph a fatwa no longer held much judicial weight in 1929. However after obtaining said fatwa Majid was not allowed to return to America. What I didn't know was Majid sought counsel in this matter from clerics in Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Egypt, Jerusalem, Afganistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other Muslim countries. He was pretty obsessed with this mission. But, it didn't appear the clerics overseas shared his same zeal.

There is a letter alledgedly written from Elijah Muhammed to Majid also in the book this correspondence is favorable. However. The book contains good information on the lost boys & girls & (Bahhara) of the Sudan and magnifies awareness to the suffering terror and death associated with this people who are subjected to a gruesome civil war.

My only question of the info on Majid is, if he came to America in 1904 and stayed until 1929. Why hasn't anyone recorded this in an official way? I just wonder whether the discovery of Majid now in (1904) when D Ali established the M.S.T. in 1913. Is just orthodox propaganda to discredit Drew Ali in some way? They make Majid out to be the original Islamic trailblazer in America.

Widespread circulation of the Quran didn't come until the 1930s, so what volume of sacred law was Majid using while in America in the early 1900s?

Overall not a bad read. You get a better understanding of the Sudan and Nubia.
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