Libya -- the Making of Modern Libya: State Formation, Colonization, and Resistance, 1830-1932 by Ali Abdullatif Ahmida

By St John, Ronald Bruce | The Middle East Journal, Winter 1995 | Go to article overview

Libya -- the Making of Modern Libya: State Formation, Colonization, and Resistance, 1830-1932 by Ali Abdullatif Ahmida


St John, Ronald Bruce, The Middle East Journal


The Making of Modern Libya: State Formation, Colonization, and Resistance, 1830-1932, by Ali Abdullatif Ahmida. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994. xv + 144 pages. Appends. to p. 151. Notes to p. 188. Gloss. to p. 193. Refs. to p. 217. Index to p. 222. $49.50 cloth; $16.95 paper.

In the introduction to this valuable study, Ali Abdullatif Ahmida rightly states that the study of modern North Africa in general, and Libya in particular, has been dominated by scholars mostly interested in French and Italian colonial studies, British social anthropology, and, to a lesser degree, what he terms the modernization school of the United States. One result of this generally Eurocentric focus is that the rich human history of resistance and struggle for survival in Libya has tended to be lost. This is especially true of the social and political history of Libya in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a period of intense change initiated by the expansion into the countryside of colonial powers, first Ottoman and then European. In an effort to broaden the focus of modern Libyan studies, the author follows the lead of other contemporary scholars of North Africa, like Colette Establet, in reexamining Libyan colonial society and history from the viewpoint of the colonized.

Beginning with the year 1830, Ahmida explores the nature of the state and political economy of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and the Fezzan, with an emphasis on the impact of Ottoman state centralization, the decline of the Saharan trade, and the penetration of European financial capital. His examination of the political economy of Cyrenaica challenges the image of pre-Sanusi Cyrenaican tribal structure as primitive, feuding, and anarchic. On the contrary, he suggests, Cyrenaica possessed an elaborate, well-organized tribal structure. And it was this structure that facilitated the spread of the Sanusi order among the tribes of the region.

The ensuing discussion of the Libyan reaction to Italian colonialism is noteworthy, most especially the author's attempt to differentiate collaborators by social class and socioeconomic background. Drawing on sources of Libyan oral history, Ahmida suggests that many collaborators were chiefs and notables without firm religious or nationalist goals, who cooperated with the Italians largely to protect tribal or economic interests. At the same time, he rightly emphasizes that collaboration was often a very complex process with many different nuances in different parts of the country.

Islam and nationalism, for example, were interpreted differently according to the socioeconomic interests of the urban classes and tribes in various parts of the country. Such diverse backgrounds were integral to factionalism in Tripolitania, which was not simply the product of personal rivalries, as some historians have argued, but instead resulted from a variety of socioeconomic forces. In contrast, the cohesion of the Cyrenaican tribes was the product of many decades of education and mobilization by the Sanusi leadership. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Libya -- the Making of Modern Libya: State Formation, Colonization, and Resistance, 1830-1932 by Ali Abdullatif Ahmida
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.