Skip to main content


HIS3365 : British Colonialism in Sudan: Violence, Gender and Race, 1899-1956

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Willow Berridge
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 40 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module explores British colonialism in Sudan in the period of the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium (1899-1956). Formally ruling in co-partnership with the Egyptian monarchy, in practise Britain ruled through the Sudan Political Service and attempted to restructure Sudanese society in accordance with contemporary colonial ideas about tradition, gender and race. British colonial governance contributed to many of the structural inequalities conflict of the post-independent Sudanese state, notably in Darfur and southern Sudan (later the independent nation of South Sudan). At the same time, British colonialism in Sudan was always resisted, whether through the rise of the Mahdist State (1885-1898), the military nationalism of the 1924 White Flag League, or the civil nationalism of the 1940s and 1950s. This module will work particularly closely with the collections available in Durham’s Sudan Archive, many of which are available digitally and will support teaching that is focused on critical analysis of colonial sources.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics may include:

The Mahdi, General Gordon and British Imperial Martyrology
The Anglo-Egyptian Reconquest and early ‘pacification’: Colonial Violence at its Apex
Race, British Colonialism, and the (re-)writing of Sudanese History
Slavery, anti-slavery and the transition to colonial labour
Colonial ‘Native Administration’ and the tribalization of Darfur
‘Southern Policy’, 1930-1947
Law courts, policing and prisons
Colonial education: domesticity and martiality
The Sudan Defence Force and Sudan Police Force: martial masculinity
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and the colonial politics of gender and tradition
Same-sex encounters and British colonialism
Sudanese nationalism from the White Flag League to Ismail al-Azhari
Post-independence Sudan

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion156:0056:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading156:0056:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00Core content session, will usually spend around an hour on historiography and an hour on primary sources.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study155:0055:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide important context to help prepare students for the seminar sessions, including introducing them to major historiographical questions surrounding British colonialism in Sudan.
Seminars will support the work towards the documentary analysis and essay by providing students with a range of theoretical and critical skills that will support a close reading of source documents. A wide range of supporting secondary literature from both the specific literature on Sudan studies and the broader fields of African studies and post-colonial theory will be brought into the seminars to enable them to contextualise and interpret key sources from the Sudan Archive and elsewhere.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M401,500 word documentary commentary consisting of two individual 750 word answers assessing two separate primary sources.
Essay2A602,000 word essay
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2M500 word Formative Essay Plan
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The 40% source analysis will provide the opportunity to deconstruct colonial sources and relate them to historiographical debates. Since the documentary commentary will be based on two separate sources chosen from a list provided by the module leader there will be an opportunity for comparative analysis.
The 60% Essay will give the opportunity to apply their critical analysis of sources to a wider set of debates. There will be an expectation that this final essay will engage extensively with primary source materials, so this will be another opportunity to gain the skills outcomes relating to primary sources. The essay will also test the students' ability to write clearly and critically, as well as their ability to synthesize different interpretations.
The formative essay plan will provide an opportunity for students to receive feedback early on in the module and set them up for their final 60% assignment.

Reading Lists