Petitions, Round Tables & the Limits of Political Space: Sudan’s Second Parliamentary Period, 1964-1969

RSVP to Jason Mosley in order to be sent the link for the call.

This paper will analyze the spectrum of political claims advanced in political discourse following the October Revolution of 1964 as well as the ways that these claims interacted with state power. Examining print media, the proceedings of the Round Table Conference, & petitions to the Sovereign Council, it will point to the sphere of political claims deemed acceptable & the limits that delineated what claims were deemed “reasonable.” In the process, it will also point to how these claims were received by the Sovereign Council in light of the power structures that governed the state during this period, evident both in the meeting minutes of the Sovereign Council itself as well as in security related correspondence from the southern provinces. In the process, this paper argues that while this period was marked by an increase in political space, in which new ideas & political conventions became legible for the first time, power structures within the state were marked by continuity. Political space during this period was contested—elites with access to state power used it in order to gatekeep what viewpoints were acceptable. Such contestation was most visible in the banning of the Communist party. At the same time, other political claims & spheres of contestation were ignored or driven out of Sudan entirely not only through the machinations of politicians, but also the workings of a security apparatus given unexamined control over large segments of the country, most prominently the war in the South.