Sahara Crossroads Initiative Workshop

A special workshop with presentations by outstanding scholars in Saharan studies discussing the place of the Sahara in research and education.

Friday, October 15, 2004
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Room 10383, Bunche Hall
10th Floor
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

This workshop is designed as a thematic conversation about the place of the Sahara in research and education from a post-areas studies and transnational perspective. It brings together a select group of scholars who specialize in the study of Saharan societies, from both sides of African divide, that is to say specialists of Northern and Western Africa. The goal of the workshop is to facilitate exchanges between American, North African and West African scholars and to determine how best to promote  “trans-Saharan scholarship” and its diffusion. The Sahara Crossroads Initiative (SCI) is an idea initiated by Wendy Wilson Fall and Ghislaine Lydon, with the help of Allen Roberts (Director, James Coleman African Studies Center) and Leonardo Villalon (Director, West African Studies Association). SCI is a three-year program that begins with this workshop. For the second year we plan another meeting out of which will come an edited volume. Finally, the third year will be devoted to outreach, curriculum development and teacher training at the K-12 level.

Presentations by:

John Hunwick, Northwestern University | Specialty: Islamic Africa, Arabic Literature in Africa

Ann McDougall, University of Alberta | Specialty: Sahara, Slavery and Salt Trade

Ismael Musah Montana, York University | Specialty: Sudan-Tunis, Slave Trade Demographics in Tunisia

Cynthia Becker, University of St. Thomas | Specialty: Morocco, Mali Art, Music and Slave Trade

Labelle Prussin, Smithsonian Institution | Specialty: Arts, Architecture, Material Culture Across the Sahara

Wendy Wilson Fall, Kent State University | Specialty: Pastoral Societies, Oral History, African Diaspora Studies

David Gutelius, Stanford University | Specialty: Moroccan History, Sufi Orders and Trade

Moulaye Ismael Keita, Université Cheikh Anta Diop | Specialty: Slavery and Discrimination in Contemporary Africa

Allen Christelow, Idaho State University | Specialty: Legal and Political History, Algeria and Nigeria

Jennifer De Maio, UCLA | Specialty: Ethnic Conflict and Intermediation, Eastern Africa, Western Sahara

Ghislaine Lydon, UCLA | Specialty: Trans-Saharan History, Trade and Islamic Practice


9:00-10:30 First Session: Thematic Conversations Part I
The Sahara in World History | The Place of the Sahara in African History | Saharan Art and Architecture | Art Historical Connections across the Sahara: Morocco and Mali

10:45- 12:00 Thematic Conversations Part II
Saharan Oases through Arabic Sources | Demographic Implications of the Slave Trade | Slavery and Racism in Contemporary Societies

13:30-15:00 Thematic Conversations Part III
Pastoralism, Drought and Culture | Political Reform and Legal Pluralism on the Frontier | The Western Sahara: Africa’s Last Colony | The Sahara and the US War on Terror

15:30-17:30 Fourth Session:  Work Meeting
Saharan Studies Association, Bibliography, Curriculum Development and Edited Volume Project

Cost : Free and open to the public; parking is available in lot 3 for $7.

For more information please contact:

James S. Coleman African Studies Center or Center for Near Eastern Studies

Tel: 310-825-3686 or

Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, Center for Near Eastern Studies