Waging War on the Dead: The Necropolitics of Sufi Shrine Destruction in Mali

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The destruction of Sufi heritage in Timbuktu used and abused heritage to assert sovereignty, terrorize the living, and repudiate materiality. Archeologists have not analyzed how necropolitics relates to the desecration of the dead and the torture of the living in Mali, where "bodies" are becoming prime stages for radical performances of sovereignty, ideology, and materiality. To understand how Sufi shrines are becoming prime ideological battlegrounds, we must consider the affective presence and emotive materiality of the dead "bodies" and "spirits" of the saints being "slayed," and acknowledge the relationship between the disturbance of the dead and postcolonial violence on the living.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-525
Number of pages20
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013



  • Mali
  • Necropolitics
  • Sufism
  • Terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology

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