Open Cities Reading Circle: Reading for Sudan


On April 15th, 2023, the clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) erupted in Sudan, leading to the forced displacement of nearly 8 million people escaping the horrific ethnic and gender-based violence which left the country in on the brinks of a famine to our present day. To understand the roots of this conflict and how the hopeful revolution against al-Bashir in 2019 turned into a bloodbath, we invite you to our second emergency reading circle where we listen to one podcast episode covering the current dire conflict and read two seminal texts about its roots.


  1. Context for What’s Happening in Sudan, Conversation with Aida Abbashar – part of the Afrika Podcast.
    In this discussion, historian Aida Abbashar describes the present crisis and situates it in a longer historical durée highlighting how decades of authoritarian militarism and military conflicts have hindered the transition to a democratic civilian rule.
    You can listen to the episode through this link  or on Spotify
  2. Berridge, W., de Waal, A., Lynch, J.(2022). Chapter One: Freedom and Change. In Sudan’s Unfinished Democracy: The Promise and Betrayal of a People’s Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 10-33.
    The chapter explains how the revolution of 2019 began by following the paths of revolutionary figures as they take up the streets of Khartoum highlighting how different generations engaged in national liberation projects.
  3. Abusharaf, R. M. (2021). Chapter One: Encountering Darfur and its Troubles. In Darfur Allegory. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, pp. 10-34

Exploring the 2003 Darfur genocide whose ramifications shape the current conflict, anthropologist Rogaia Abisharaf challenges the common framing of an ‘Arab verus African’ conflict by proposing a class-based reading of the crisis. She demonstrates how an ethnographic approach to studying war and conflict could generate alternative analytical frameworks that are both holistic and intersectional.

This event is part of our ongoing “reading circles” series that offers a chance to 'sit with texts', allowing participants to engage with scholarship that informs new perspectives on the contemporary and historical relationships between cities, media, and identities. They are dedicated to broadening and challenging disciplinary scholarly canons by centering marginalized, forgotten, or ignored scholarship. Additionally, they serve as spaces for reinterpreting classical texts that retain social, political, and cultural relevance in contemporary debates. These reading circles are committed to holding space for interdisciplinary discussions around topics such as epistemic justice, environmental justice, (neo)colonialism, neoliberalism, urban inequality, mediation, connectivity, and infrastructures in globalized cities. Our reading circles use a fishbowl format to allow participants to engage as active speakers and listeners. 

Start date and time
End date and time
Grote Zaal, Kromme Nieuwegracht 20 (entrance via Muntstraat 2A), Utrecht
More information
Click here to register for this session and to receive the readings.