Marchi (Carlotta)

Carlotta Marchi (Università di Pavia), Between religious belonging and political representation: the role of the Sanusiyya in the creation of independent Libya (1941-1958)

The process of transition to the creation of an independent Libya in 1951 was marked by the confrontation and convergence of multiple levels of interests, both local and international, not necessarily oriented towards the same goal, as well as by a “greater abundance and mutual competition of different colonial projects”. The conservative outcome of this process, i.e., the creation of the United Kingdom of Libya, was shaped mainly by the political strategies of the Great Powers, rather than by local aspirations.

In the provinces of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan, the 1940s highlighted, on the one hand, the lack of alignment between the three realities, for which the colonial past and the experience of exile generated different needs and aspirations; on the other hand, they further emphasized the reasons for international interventionism, which first materialized in the form of a new phase of colonial competition. The latter was exhausted, at least on the surface, by the failure of the Bevin-Sforza compromise in 1949, the last attempt to partition Libya between Great Britain, France and Italy; since then, the external interest has turned to a broader reflection on the path to independence, on the basis of which the “formula of an independent Libya organized in the form of a federal state” under the crown of Idris al-Sanusi, shaykh of the ṭarīqa al-Sanusiyya, appears to be the better conservative solution for the three provinces.  

Focusing on the study of the Arabic literature and of European archival documents, this contribution aims at reconstructing the role of the Sanusiyya in Libyan path to independence, starting from 1941, but also in the phase of consolidation of the new Kingdom, until 1958. During this period, in fact, the ṭarīqa appeared both as a religious reality, and as a source of political legitimation and/or opposition; at the same time, the Sanusiyya was subjected to a process of politicization that led it to become the backbone of the new State.

كارلوتا مارشي  جامعة بافيا

بين الانتماء الديني والتمثيل السياسي. دور السنوسية في إنشاء ليبيا المستقلة 1941 – 1958

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