This article reflects upon a long-lasting cooperation within anthropological research between the University of Bergen and the University of Khartoum, which later also came to involve other institutions on both sides. The Norwegian engagement in Sudan started in 1963 with a piece of applied anthropology by Fredrik Barth. It focused on livelihoods in Darfur, the main objective being to influence decisions affecting half a million people, mostly non-Arab cultivators. While influence may have been limited, the publications coming out of this research turned out to be both pioneering and influential in terms of advancing anthropological theory. This applies particularly to our understanding of ethnicity, that identities are not necessarily essential and fixed, that they are situational, and what counts are boundaries rather than their content.
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