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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Revival of Uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa: Sudan

Guide supporting the conference event of the same name - February 6, 2020


Sudanese Flag

Sudan's 2018/2019 Uprising and its Aftermath: A Gender and An Intersectional Perspective


Nada Mustafa Ali, Lecturer of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, College of Liberal Arts

Director, Human Rights Minor, University of Massachusetts Boston


As with other uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, diverse women from across Sudan played key roles in the 2018/2019 uprising which culminated in the unseating of former president Omar Al-Bashir on 11 April 2019. This uprising built on various forms of activism that sought political change and transformation during the past three decades.  Initially, women, especially young women, joined other protestors in 2018 to demand an end to an oppressive regime that has devastated the country economically and at many other levels, including through war. Eventually, women started to articulate demands to end gender inequality and to ensure participation for women at all levels. In my paper, I highlight the history of women’s organizing in Sudan, document and analyze the roles women played in the recent uprising, and examine the achievements and challenges associated with Sudan’s transition from a gender perspective, and from the perspectives of historically marginalized and war-affected communities in Sudan. In so doing, I engage with the concepts of intersectionality and neoliberalism. I ask whether experiences of transition elsewhere in the MENA region offer lessons for Sudan.


Nada Mustafa Ali, “The Victories -- and Continuing Struggles -- of Women in Sudan: Ensuring Meaningful Participation of Women in the Transitional Government Can Be a First Step Toward Achieving Gender Equality in a Future Sudan.”, June 18, 2019.

Sudan's Revolution: Political and Socioeconomic Causes and Challenges Ahead


Khalid Mustafa Medani, Professor of Political Science Department and the Islamic Studies Institute and Chair, African Studies Program, McGill University


In a pattern similar to the wave of recent popular protests worldwide, in April 2019, following over six months of persistent protests, an unprecedented popular uprising (intifada), organized, waged and sustained by youth, managed to successfully overthrow three decades of authoritarian rule in Sudan. Professor Medani’s paper examines the political and socioeconomic factors that led to the revolution and the challenges that remain for the consolidation of democracy. The paper also discusses some often neglected factors in the analysis of popular protests in Africa and the Middle East. These include the relationship between geo-politics and grassroots activism in democratization, the role of social media, and diasporic activism in helping to shape and sustain local networks of resistance.


Mai Hassan and Ahmed Kodouda, “Sudan's Uprising: The Fall of a Dictator,” Journal of Democracy, 30.4, October 2019: 89-103. 

Mohammed Elnaiem, “Armed, Unarmed, and Non-Violent: The Sudanese Resistance in

Sudan's 2018-2019 Revolutionary Uprising,” Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, 43.2,

Summer 2019: 5-26.