I was raised in Turkey in a practicing Muslim family dedicated to fighting against the Kemalist secular ideology of the state, and attended a public school where this official ideology was taught with a passion. I quickly learned to keep my critical comments about the regime to myself. At school, Kemal Ataturk was depicted as a brilliant commander of the national war of independence, who had saved the country and fashioned Turkey into a modern Western republic. At home, my beloved grandfather would speak about the manner in which “that apostate (kafir)” betrayed the only true Islamic state, the Ottoman Empire.
This opposition was vivid in my mind as I read Esra Ozyurek’s Nostalgia for the Modern: State Secularism and Everyday Politics in Turkey.
Dr. Livingstone, may not be such the hero we once presumed.
New digital imaging technology and a team of scholars have recovered David Livingstone’s faded journal entries from the period when the colonial era explorer had lost contact with his European benefactors 140 years ago.
As the introduction of Livingstone’s 1871 Field Diary: A Multispectral Critical Edition states, the digital project “reveals for the first time the original record of a remarkable and traumatic period in the life of David Livingstone, the celebrated British abolitionist, missionary, and explorer of Africa.”
While on an expedition to find the source of the Nile River, Livingstone encountered illness and other types of hardships. He had lost contact with his European suppliers and required the benevolence of traders and locals to survive. His experiences would be later immortalized by Henry Morton Stanley’s dispatches to the New York Herald. The journal materials cover his most challenging crisis, the one that helped encourage the Crown’s crackdown on the slave trade in East Africa and thus, cementing Britain's dominance in the region.
The journal was written on an old newspaper using ink made from berries and other natural pigments. Until Spectral Imaging Project used ultra-violet and infrared light to dim the newsprint and bring out the faded ink, scholars have settled for the account as it was reported in the international press of the time and as reproduced in its various cultural manifestations. Now, the materials, available online, are making it possible for researchers to revise what has been a nearly unchallengeable history.
Coverage of the conflict that brought the end of Gaddafi's 42-year regime over Libya exposed some of the weakest points in the ways we conceive of geographical categories. Rebel forces accused Gaddafi of using “African mercenaries,” painting a racial tint to the civil conflict. In many respects, the conflict showed the limits of Libya's Africanness -- which Gaddafi emphasized in his later years -- while aggravating the very real historical tensions between Arabs and other ethnic groups in Africa. Nevertheless, the positioning of Libya as an African nation has resonated with many Africans on the continent and throughout its diaspora.
How can we account for Libya's occupation of both Arab and African fields of identity?