The Sahara has long been portrayed as a barrier that divides the
Mediterranean world from Africa proper and isolates the countries
of the Maghrib from their southern and eastern neighbors. Rather
than viewing the desert as an isolating barrier, this volume takes
up historian Fernand Braudel s description of the Sahara as "the
second face of the Mediterranean." The essays recast the history of
the region with the Sahara at its center, uncovering a story of
densely interdependent networks that span the desert s vast
expanse. They explore the relationship between the desert s
"islands" and "shores" and the connections and commonalities that
unite the region. Contributors draw on extensive ethnographic and
historical research to address topics such as trade and migration;
local notions of place, territoriality, and movement; Saharan
cities; and the links among ecological, regional, and
world-historical approaches to understanding the Sahara."
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