Enrico Ille

Enrico Ille

Enrico has a doctoral degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Halle. After holding positions as Assistant Professor at the University of Halle, Germany, and Ahfad University for Women, Sudan, he is currently an independent researcher as a member of the Law, Organization, Science and Technology (LOST) Research Group. He co-edited the volume Emerging orders in the Sudans (2014) and published on history, land issues, development interventions and political economy of Sudan. Recently, his research shifted to the relation of state institutions, commercial companies and communities in gold mining and food supply chains throughout northern Sudan. He has an Urgent Anthropology Fellowship at The British Museum / Royal Anthropological Institute, London (July 2016 – December 2017).


Enrico currently studies supply chains involving date production (Phoenix dactylifera) along the Nile in northern Sudan. Date production has long been an essential part of the local population’s livelihoods in this area. In 2013, national annual production was estimated by FAOSTAT at 437,853 tons, with the main part of production conducted at the Nile banks north of Khartoum. However, recent radical changes in the population’s environment, as well as many other aspects of everyday life, have posed enormous and often existential challenges to these livelihoods, specifically agri- and horticultural production. These changes include climate change, the impact of large-scale agricultural investment schemes, and the Merowe dam construction and subsequent resettlements. The research is based on multi-sited anthropological fieldwork along the Nile between Abri, Dongola and the areas flooded due to the Merowe dam (Dar al-Manasir). These areas are affected by the changes in similar ways, but to different degrees, which allows a study of successive transformations and adaptation to new environmental and socio-economic situations. The radical, irreversible nature of the changes furthermore enhances the need both to document and analyse how people deal with the loss of something they previously regarded as a constant, essential aspect of their life. The study of ideas and practices around immobile, durable, productive trees is exceptionally suited to grasp both the biographical long-term perspective and the annual rhythm of a rural agricultural life-style, including occurring subtle and/or substantial shifts; the common usage of every part of the palm trees for food, weaving and construction strengthens this aspect. In a larger perspective, the inclusion of historical, macroeconomic and climatic aspects will contextualize these individual situations and lead to insights into contingent effects of these changes on different scales.


  • Ille, Enrico (2016) "Complications in the classification of conflict areas and conflict actors for the identification of ‘conflict gold’ from Sudan." in The Extractive Industries and Society 3:193-203
  • Ille, Enrico (2016) "Political, financial and moral aspects of Sudan’s private higher education" in Rethinking private higher education. Ethnographic perspectives 98-130 , edited by Daniele Cantini Leiden: Brill
  • Calkins, Sandra, Enrico Ille, and Richard Rottenburg, eds. (2015) "Emerging orders in the Sudans." Bamenda and Buea: Langaa
  • Ille, Enrico (2015) "‘Nuba’. A historical perspective on changing and contested notions" in Nuba Mountains Studies Working Paper 2 Halle: LOST Research Group, University of Halle
  • Ille, Enrico (2015) "An annotated bibliography of social research on the Nuba Mountains." Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute
  • Ille, Enrico (2015) "Dynamics of destabilisation in development interventions in South Kordofan, 2005-2011" in Sudan Working Paper 2015:4 Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute
  • Ille, Enrico (2015) "Variations of field design and crop organization in Heiban (South Kordofan): Forecast and experimentation between the wars" in Sudan Journal of Economic and Social Studies 12:9-45
  • Calkins, Sandra, Enrico Ille, Siri Lamoureaux, and Richard Rottenburg (2015) "Rethinking institutional orders in Sudan studies: the case of land access in Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur." in Canadian Journal of African Studies 49 (1):175-195
  • Calkins, Sandra, Enrico Ille, and Richard Rottenburg (2015) "Emergence and contestation of orders in the Sudans." in Emerging orders in the Sudans , edited by Sandra Calkins, Enrico Ille and Richard Rottenburg, 1-22. Bamenda and Buea: Langaa
  • Ille, Enrico (2015) "Historical thinking in political discourses: the case of land issues in South Kordofan." in Past, present and future: fifty years of anthropology in Sudan , edited by Munzoul A. M. Assal and Musa Adam Abdul-Jalil, 277-290. Bergen: Chr.-Michelsen-Institute
  • Ille, Enrico (2015) "Sudan." in The SAGE encyclopedia of world poverty , edited by Mehmet Odekon, 300-302. Thousand Oaks: SAGE
  • Ille, Enrico (2015) "Greedy donors? Uncertainty and the organisation of seed distribution in the Nuba Mountains." in Emerging orders in the Sudans , edited by Sandra Calkins, Enrico Ille and Richard Rottenburg, 221-240. Bamenda and Buea: Langaa
  • Ille, Enrico (2015) "But they can’t manage to silence us’: Mahjoub Sharif’s prison poem ‘A homesick sparrow’ (1990) as resistance to political confinement." in Middle East – Topics & Arguments 5:117-130
  • Ille, Enrico (2015) "The Nuba Mountains between coercion and persuasion during Mahdist rule (1881-1898)." in Northeast African Studies 15 (2):1-63
  • Ille, Enrico, Guma Kunda Komey, and Richard Rottenburg. (2015) "Tragic entanglements: vicious circles and acts of violence in South Kordofan." in Sudan's killing fields: political violence and fragmentation , edited by Laura Lyantung Beny and Sondra Hale, 117-137. Trenton: Red Sea Press
  • Calkins, Sandra and Enrico Ille (2014) "Territories of gold mining: international investments and artisanal extraction in Sudan." in Disrupting territories: land, commodification and conflict in Sudan , edited by Jörg Gertel, Richard Rottenburg and Sandra Calkins, 52-76. Woodbridge: James Currey
  • Ille, Enrico (2013) "Projections, plans and projects: development as the extension of organizing principles and its consequences in the rural Nuba Mountains / South Kordofan, Sudan (2005-2011)." Leipzig and Weissenfels: Ille & Riemer
  • Calkins, Sandra, and Enrico Ille (2013) "Gold mining concessions in Northern Sudan’s written laws and practices of gold extraction in the Nuba Mountains." in Identity, economy, power relations and external interests: old and new challenges for Sudan and South Sudan , edited by Elke Grawert, 112-126. Addis Abeba: OSSREA
  • Ille, Enrico (2013) "Das Plenum 2010: Handel und Mobilität im Sudan zwischen nomothetischer und idiopathischer Perspektive." in Mobilität neu gedacht? Ein interdisziplinärer Forschungsbericht der AG "Mobilität" des Sonderforschungsbereiches 586 "Differenz und Integration" (2008-2012) , edited by Thomas Brüggemann. Working papers 'Contested order', 51-68. Leipzig: Universität Leipzig
  • Ille, Enrico (2013) "Some linguistic expressions related to agricultural annual cycles in the Nuba Mountains (Miri, Krongo, Moro, Tira, Abol)." in Nuba Mountain language studies , edited by Thilo C. Schadeberg and Roger Blench, 523-549. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe
  • Ille, Enrico (2013) "Literacy, translation, practices: groundwater location under stress in South Kordofan (Republic of Sudan)." in Journal des Anthropologues 132-133:219-242
  • Ille, Enrico (2012) "The classification of drinking water between public administration and rural communities in South Kordofan, Sudan." in Sociologus 62 (1):73-93
  • Komey, Guma Kunda, and Enrico Ille (2012) "Suq Sumbuq: geheime Märke im sudanesischen Bürgerkrieg." in Nomaden in unserer Welt: die Vorreiter der Globalisierung: von Mobilität und Handel, Herrschaft und Widerstand , edited by Jörg Gertel and Sandra Calkins, 106-115. Bielefeld: Transcript