Arabicisation and the Khartoum Arabic Language Academy

Ashraf Abdelhay, Nada Eljak, Abdel Rahim Mugaddam, Sinfree Makoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In this paper, we review the historical and cultural worldliness of the Khartoum Arabic Language Academy with a focus on its linguistic ideology of operation and discursive representation. The paper has three key objectives: first, to show that Arabic language academies emerged as decolonising institutions in a context of struggle to fix the ‘image’ of Arabic through specific textual practices of representation. We inspect how the naturalising effect of the dominant institutional ideology of Arabic relies on its capacity to function through other discourses. As a second objective, we contend that since the cultural policy of Arabicisation is closely linked with institutional power and subjectivity, it dialectically contributes to the maintenance of less officially recognised linguistic resources as significant proxies in the discursive struggle for recognition. Our third objective is to compare and contrast the Khartoum Arabic Language Academy with the Higher Commission for Arabicisation in the Sudan. Our argument here is that as an effect of the contestation over what counts as ‘Arabic’, Arabicisation is always an incomplete process. Our analysis of the cultural political world of the Khartoum Arabic Language Academy draws on the insights and conceptual tools provided by historical and discourse studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-856
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of North African Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 19 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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