Books on Mauritania

Below is a list of six books on Mauritania worth exploring. Some are in Arabic, others in French. Most were written in the last decade or so, though there are obvious outliers (i.e., the Paul Marty books, though Arabic translation was released very recently. These books, by the way, include very interesting “annexes” of treaties, maps and the like.) Though this reader has only read a few of them the whole way through (as of yet) each has value in understanding contemporary Mauritanian politics as Mauritanians look at them. For instance, the Ould Saleck book on the politics of the Haratine (Arabic-speaking Mauritanians descended from slaves) is quite valuable in understanding contemporary trends in religious and Arab nationalist thinking and politics in the country, as well as how various political parties address the question of slavery and how emerging Haratine leaders relate to all these trends. In any case, these are books worth looking at for those interested in Mauritania’s recent history and politics.

Eventually, a Mauritania bibliography may appear on this site for readers to download and so that information about that fantastic country can spread around, insha’Allah. This list was recently sent to a curious friend.

  1. Marty, Paul.
    1. Études sur l’Islam et les tribus maures: les Brakna. E. Leroux. 1921.
    2. Les tribus de la Haute Mauritanie. Comité de l’Afrique française. 1915.
    3. من عرب الصحراء الكبرى: القبائل البيضانية    قي الحوض والساحل الموريتانيا وقصة احتلال فرنسا المنطقة. Translator: Weddady, Mohamed Mahmoud.
  2. Ould Hamody, Mohamed Said. Mauritanie, 1445-1975: Relations seculaires ave l’Europe. IMRS. 2004.
  3. Ould Ishedou, Mohamed. أزمة الحكم في موريتانيا. Dar al-Fakr. 2010.
  4. Ould Saleck, El-Arby. Les Haratines: Le paysage politique mauritanien. L’Harmattan. 2003.
  5. Ould Sheikhna, Sid ‘Amrou. من أعلان ومشاهير خمسينية الاستقلال. An-Nasher. 2010.
  6. Ould Sheikhna, Sid ‘Amrou. (موريتانيا المعاصرة: شهادات ووثائق، الجزء الأول )1957-1988 م. Dar al-Fakr. 2010.

UPDATE: Reader Erin Pettigrew writes:

Work by Ghislaine Lydon (“On Trans-Saharan Trails”) on the economic and legal history of the region, Ann McDougall on the salt trade, Abdel Wedoud Ould Cheikh’s thorough PhD dissertation, Pierre Bonte’s anthropological work, Zekeria ould Ahmed Salem (Political Science) and Yahya ould El Bara (legal history) should all be included on this list. They are at the forefront of good scholarship in French, English, and Arabic on Mauritania.

One thought on “Books on Mauritania

  1. Work by Ghislaine Lydon (“On Trans-Saharan Trails”) on the economic and legal history of the region, Ann McDougall on the salt trade, Abdel Wedoud Ould Cheikh’s thorough PhD dissertation, Pierre Bonte’s anthropological work, Zekeria ould Ahmed Salem (Political Science) and Yahya ould El Bara (legal history) should all be included on this list. They are at the forefront of good scholarship in French, English, and Arabic on Mauritania.

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