Mukhtar, Mohamed Haji 1947-
Mukhtar, Mohamed Haji 1947-
Born June 13, 1947, in Huddur, Somalia; naturalized U.S. citizen; son of Malak Mukhtar Malak Hassan (a politician and religious figure) and Keera Alyow Haydar (a farmer); children: Saida, Salah, Subeida. Ethnicity: "Somali." Education: Al-Azhar University, B.A., 1971, M.A., 1974, Ph.D., 1983. Religion: Muslim.
Home—1916 E. 64th St., Savannah, GA 31404. Office—Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Savannah State University, 3219 College St., Savannah, GA 31404. E-mail— [email protected]
Somali National University, Mogadishu, Somalia, associate professor of history, 1975-82; National University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, senior lecturer in African and Middle Eastern history, 1987-91; Somalia Committee for Peace and Reconciliation, Harrisonburg, VA, chair, 1994—. Savannah State University, Savannah, GA, professor of history and coordinator of history program, 2001—. British Broadcasting Corp., World Service, producer and correspondent for programs dealing with African history and culture, 1986—; Somali Professional Trust, member of executive committee, 1997—; Global Advisory Board for Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies, member, 2003—; International Committee of the Red Cross, president for Savannah, 2004—; Somali Committee for Peace and Reconciliation, founding member and chair.
African Studies Association, Association of Muslim Social Scientists, Middle Eastern Studies Association, Egyptian Historical Association, Royal Institute of International Affairs (England), Somali Studies International Association, Georgia Historical Association, Inter-riverine Studies Association.
Research fellow of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa, Rome, Italy, 1979-80, and Arab League Education, Culture, and Science Organization, Tunis, Tunisia, 1980-81; Fulbright Senior African Research Scholar, University of Pennsylvania, 1983- 85; grants for field research from Somali Committee for Peace and Reconciliation, 1992, Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, 1993, and Swedish Life and Peace Institute, 1994; grant from National Endowment for the Humanities, 2002.
Habka Cilmiga ee Baarista Taarikhda (title means "Methodology of Writing History"), Lafole College Press, Somali National University (Mogadishu, Somalia), 1978.
(Editor, with M.W. Delancey and others) Somalia: World Bibliographical Series, American Bibliographical Center-Clio Press (Santa Barbara, CA), 1989.
Historical Dictionary of Somalia, New Edition, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 2003.
Essential English-Maay Dictionary, Peppercorn Books and Press (Greensboro, NC), 2006.
Contributor to books, including The Invention of Somalia, edited by Ali Jimale Ahmed, Red Sea Press (Lawrenceville, NJ), 1995; (with I.M. Lewis) Voice and Power: The Culture of Language in Northeast Africa, Essays in Honor of B.W. Andrzejewski, edited by R.J. Hayward and I.M. Lewis, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (London, England), 1996; Mending Rips in the Sky: Options for Somali Communities in the 21st Century, edited by Hussein M. Adam and Richard Ford, Red Sea Press (Lawrenceville, NJ), 1997; and Putting the Cart before the Horse: Contested Nationalism and the Crisis of the Nation-State in Somalia, edited by Abdi M. Kusow, Red Sea Press (Lawrenceville, NJ), 2004. Contributor to journals and newspapers, including Review of African Political Economy, History in Africa, ALECSO Monthly, and Washington Post. Editor, Demenedung, 1996-2002.
Mohamed Haji Mukhtar told CA: "My major interest in writing has been mainly in history, particularly the historiography of Africa and the Middle East. My earliest works had their origins at the College of Education in Lafole and Somali National University, when I taught courses on the history of Somalia, the history of Africa, and the history of the Middle East. While I was teaching there, between 1975 and 1982, I found out that I was one of the only two instructors in the history department with a master's degree in history. As I worked with students on their senior projects, and with faculty who were pursuing graduate studies in foreign universities, it became clear to me that both students and faculty would benefit from a short guide to the study of history. Therefore, in 1977 I finished a draft and circulated it among colleagues. Their comments encouraged me to produce my first book on the methodology of writing history, a manual for beginning history that contains technical advice on how historians select topics, analyze sources, and cite sources. The book explains the relationship of history to the social sciences and also discusses recent developments in history.
"Since that time I have continued exploring and researching. From 1979 to 1982 I was fortunate to visit the most important archives and libraries in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. I was surprised that there were few or no guidebooks, historical dictionaries, or indexes on most parts of Africa, particularly the area of the Horn of Africa. I exhausted my limited budget and time on some very secondary sources of subject matter, when in the last minutes I found some very primary sources and untapped documents. I remember investing my last available funds on tape recording some documents and copying others manually. One time I photographed some maps and old pictures with a 35mm camera.
"These experiences inspired me to write my history guides. In 1982 I made a presentation on Arabic sources on Africa at the Arab League's Education, Culture, and Science Organization in Mogadishu, Somalia. The lecture was well received and eventually published as a monograph in the organization's bulletin. This was the origin of my study ‘Arabic Sources on Somalia’ later published in History in Africa: Journal of Method. In 2003 my historical dictionary of Somalia was published.
"My writings also cover the history and politics of Islamic Africa."
Mukhtar added: "I am working closely with the international institutions that are engaged in crisis areas: the United Nations, the Swedish Life and Peace Institute, the Canadian Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, the U.S. Institute for Peace, and European Union. I am a founding member of Ergada, the Somali Committee for Peace and Reconciliation. I have been involved in peace missions and peace conferences for the social rehabilitation and economic reconstruction of Somalia. Somali is my native language, but I speak and/or write in Maay and Mahaa (Somali languages), English, Arabic, Italian, French, and Malay."