Sidahmed, Abdel Salam 1956–

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Sidahmed, Abdel Salam 1956–


Born June 28, 1956, in Hassaheisa, Sudan; son of Mohamed Sidahmed. Education: University of Khartoum, B.Sc. (with honors), M.Sc., 1983; Charles University, Ph.D., 1991. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, classical music.


Office—Department of Political Science, University of Windsor, 1149 Chrysler Hall North, 401 Sunset Ave., Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4, Canada.


Sudanow, Khartoum, Sudan, senior reporter and sub-editor for current affairs, beginning 1985; Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, researcher and lecturer in modern Middle Eastern history, 1991-95; Amnesty International, London, England, human rights researcher specializing in the Middle East, became director of Middle East program, 1995-2005; University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada, began as assistant professor, currently associate professor of political science, 2005—. Consultant to Sudan Studies Centre. Honorary research fellow at the Institute for Middle East and Islamic Studies at the University of Durham, Durham, England.


British Society of Middle Eastern Studies (fellow), Association of Clerical, Technical, and Supervisory Staff.


(Editor, with Anoushiravan Ehteshami) Islamic Fundamentalism, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1996.

Politics and Islam in Contemporary Sudan, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.

(With Alsir Sidahmed) Sudan: The Contemporary Middle East, Routledge (New York, NY), 2004.

Also author of, in Arabic, Fuqahā' wa-al-saltanah fī Sinnār: qirā'ah fī tārtkh al-Islām wa-al-siyāsah fī al-Suidān, 1500-1821 (title means "Fuqaha and the Sultanate in Sinnar: The History of Islam and Politics in the Sudan, 1500-1821"), 1991. Contributor to journals.


Abdel Salam Sidahmed has written about affairs in the Middle East and Africa, particularly Sudan, where he was born. Sudan: The Contemporary Middle East, written with Alsir Sidahmed, focuses primarily on that country's history since it became independent of England in the 1950s and seeks to analyze the internal wars that have plagued Sudan in the twenty-first century, particularly in the province of Darfur. The authors deal with the nation's economy, the various military and civilian regimes that have ruled it post-independence, the role of the Muslim religion in relation to the government, interethnic strife, and the difficulty in creating a national identity.

According to some reviewers, the Sidahmeds offer a well-grounded overview of the troubled country. As both are Sudanese, they have "a distinctive perspective," related Yehudit Ronen in the Middle East Quarterly. Similarly, Richard A. Lobban, Jr., noted in Arab Studies Quarterly that regarding some periods of Sudan's recent history, the authors draw on "their personal knowledge" that allows them insights that "some foreign scholars of Sudan miss." He praised the chapter on Sudan's foundation as "comprehensive," the discussion of politics as "sophisticated and informed," and the chapter on economics as "straightforward." Overall, he deemed the book "very accessible and clear" as well as "seriously informative and a smooth read." Ronen called it "an essential and enriching addition on Sudanese state and society," while Lobban summed it up by saying: "It should be widely read by those who want to understand the evolution of Sudan in the colonial and post-colonial periods."

Sidahmed once told CA: "Since my early school years I have developed an interest in writing. This ranged from keeping bits and pieces of observations and personal experiences in my diary to experimenting in short story writing and school journalism. Subsequently, and throughout my educational and career years, writing became first a necessity and then a profession. I now see writing as an essential part of my life. Through writing I hope to contribute some input to those who may share my concerns and interests, and/or those who are in one way or another being influenced by the issues addressed in my works.

"My preliminary inspiration has been the issues confronting my country of origin. Sadly, Sudan, the largest country in Africa and a country of ancient history and civilization, has gone from one disaster to another. Therefore, Sudan's history and its current affairs, as well as its problems and complications, have been both a field of interest and a motivation for my writing. On another level, the trend that contemporary Sudanese politics has taken and its increased association with Islam and Islamist ideology has enlarged the scope of my writing and research interests to include Islamic history, contemporary Islamism, and Middle Eastern affairs in general.

"Notwithstanding my preliminary, or even primary, interest in Sudanese issues, Middle Eastern politics and contemporary Islamism have also assumed greater margins in my schemes of research for professional and other reasons. For me the question is not just a matter of academic curiosity. Rather, it is an attempt to contribute to an ongoing debate directly concerned with the essential issues confronting Muslims and their societies and the way they perceive their religion in view of today's realities. These issues include the question of Islam and modernity, modernism or postmodernism; the secular or Islamist challenge; and Islam and politics.

"Although currently my main field is academic writing, I love feature writing and do occasionally run pieces in journals and newspapers whenever my time and other commitments allow."



African Studies Review, September, 1998, Heather J. Sharkey, review of Politics and Islam in Contemporary Sudan, p. 201.

Arab Studies Quarterly, spring, 1999, Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, review of Islamic Fundamentalism, p. 102; spring, 2006, Richard A. Lobban, Jr., review of Sudan: The Contemporary Middle East, p. 74.

Asian Affairs, June, 1997, Neil Crompton, review of Islamic Fundamentalism, p. 237.

Choice, December, 1996, review of Islamic Fundamentalism, p. 628; July/August, 1997, D. Pipes, review of Politics and Islam in Contemporary Sudan, p. 1870.

Conscience, winter, 1996, review of Islamic Fundamentalism, p. 31.

Foreign Affairs, November/December, 2005, Nicolas van de Walle, review of Sudan.

International Affairs, July, 1997, Nicolas Pelham, review of Islamic Fundamentalism, p. 602.

International Journal of Middle East Studies, August, 2006, Kenneth J. Perkins, review of Sudan, p. 483.

Journal of Palestine Studies, autumn, 1997, Lawrence Tal, review of Islamic Fundamentalism, p. 106.

Middle Eastern Studies, July, 1999, Gabriel Warburg, review of Politics and Islam in Contemporary Sudan, p. 178.

Middle East Journal, summer, 1998, Ahmad Sikainga, review of Politics and Islam in Contemporary Sudan, p. 454.

Middle East Quarterly, winter, 2006, Yehudit Ronen, review of Sudan, p. 92.

Reference & Research Book News, August, 1997, review of Politics and Islam in Contemporary Sudan, p. 32.

Religious Studies Review, January, 2000, review of Islamic Fundamentalism, p. 110.

Review of Politics, summer, 1997, Roxanne L. Euben, review of Islamic Fundamentalism, p. 643.

Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario, Canada), October 17, 2006, Monica Wolfson, "U of W's Middle Eastern Expertise Growing," p. A5.