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Lost nationalism : Revolution, Memory and Anti-Colonial Resistance in Sudan

Elena Vezzadini, Suffolk, James Currey, Eastern African Series, 2nd edition : 2019, 336 p., 7 illus.

The 1924 Revolution was a watershed in Sudanese history, the first episode of anti- colonial resistance in which a nationalist ideology was explicitly used, and part of a global wave of anti-colonial movements after the First World War that can be seen as the “spring of the colonial nations”.

This detailed account of the uprising, and its eventual failure, explores the cosmopolitan nationalism embraced by the White Flag League, the movement that sparked the revolution, and its ability to attract people from diverse origins, classes and professions. It examines the international genesis of the movement ; the strategies put in place to spread it in different areas of Sudan and among different groups ; the movement’s inclusive ideology and its definition of the Sudanese nation, as well as the limitations to its inclusiveness ; and the way in which this episode reveals deeper questions relating to origins, social hierarchies and power. The book also unravels the complex history of the memory of 1924, the politics of its representation and the underlying power struggles that saw 1924 largely lost from the historical record.
This new edition includes an epilogue on the history of the memory of 1924 during and after the independence of Sudan. The author seeks to understand why there exists no master narrative on the 1924 Revolution, while new versions of the events continue to be produced even now, almost one hundred years after the revolution. She links this phenomenon to the ‘racialization’ of the 1924 Revolution and the painful history of war experienced by Sudanese after the independence of the country.

Winner of the African Studies Association 2016 Bethwell A. Ogot Book Prize.


[A]s a well-documented case study utilizing major conceptual frameworks for analysis, Lost Nationalism is a useful contribution to understanding nationalism and revolution in the modern world. CANADIAN JOURNAL OF AFRICAN STUDIES

The Arabic and English, textual and visual, primary and secondary sources on which Vezzadini was able to draw for this study, while extraordinarily rich and abundant, were also challenging and complex. Her painstaking analysis of them in their Sudanese contexts as well as from the vantage point of a wide range of relevant comparative and theoretical scholarship is nothing less than impressive. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORICAL STUDIES