About Wendell Marsh

Wendell Hassan Marsh is a doctoral student in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies and the Institute of Comparative Literature and Society. His work lies at the intersection of the study of Islam in Africa, Arabic written culture, and intellectual history. Specifically, his research interrogates the African Islamic library as a locus of knowledge production and circulation

Conflict Heats Up Across the Sahara


A month ago, few would have suspected that Mali’s government was in line to have its power usurped by its 7,500-man army. President Amadou Toumani Touré, whose present whereabouts are unknown, has been lauded for his democratic governance and was a likely candidate for the ever elusive Mo Ibrahim prize for African leaders who voluntarily cede power. Next month’s elections were to seal the deal for the political career of a man who has played by the rules, since he first took power in a coup in 1991 that earned him the title “soldier of democracy.”

But alas, as many analysts have argued, the series of revolutions that swept the Arab world last year, have officially started to make their presence known on the other side of the Sahara by destabilizing the countries further south. Continue reading Conflict Heats Up Across the Sahara

Is the Most Influential African Intellectual in MESAAS?

African_Intellectual_03032012Professor Mahmood Mamdani the good folks over at Africa is a Country (If you don’t know it, click this link now!) are running an unabashedly inconclusive poll of who might be named the most influential African intellectual alive. One name most of us probably know all too well, Mahmoud Mamdani, is leading the pack so far. With a few days remaining to vote, that may or may not change.

They’ve put together an interesting mix of names, all deserving a word or three. Here’s a brief rundown of the other front runners:

Samir Amin — Trained as an economist and best known for his southern-centered analysis of underdevelopment, de-linking theories of development, and engaged militant activism, this Egyptian intellectual has called Senegal home since the 1980’s. His prolific intellectual output on key political and economic issues is impressive and certainly warrants your attention. Check one of his recent review essays and his vision of the The World We Wish to See.

Continue reading Is the Most Influential African Intellectual in MESAAS?