New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal: Conversion, Migration, Wealth, Power, and Femininity
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON ISLAM IN SENEGAL – Book Sample
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON ISLAM IN SENEGAL CONVERSION, MIGRATION, WEALTH, POWER, AND FEMININITY
The literature on Islam in Africa has been dominated by two main tracks: the making of Muslim societies and the “Africanization of Islam.”1 it has tended to reproduce a reductive binary in which the processes of “Africanization” provide content, selecting the local factors that constitute the key drivers in determining the character of Islam in Africa, while the “Islamization of African societies” lays out the structures from which the faith deploys itself.
The issues with which scholars engaged were constructed around additional binaries such as universal and local manifestations and appropriations of Islam, literate (doctrinal modes) and magical (imagistic modes) dis courses and practices,2 individual religious responsibility and submission to religious leaders, and spirituality and economic and political fıınctions of the brotherhoods. 3
Islam has been a dominant theme in studies of Senegal since the colonial period. Following the studies of Paul Marty in 1917, 4 the French colonial administration and community of scholars distinguished between Arab Islam and Islam noir.
This concept captures the colonial perception of Islam south of the Sahara defined as the product of spiritual and ritualistic transactions between Islam and African traditional religions.
African Islam was seen as less pure, less literate, more magical, and flexible enough to be incorporated into “French Muslim policy.” Such a perspective has been dominant in historical, anthropological, sociological, and political studies. Marty remained the main reference for the study of lslam in Senegal until the end of the twentieth century.
His typology of Muslim groups and discussion of the brotherhoods and their founders provided the foundations for later studies. Marty’s Etudes sur l,Islam au Senegal developed the underlying repertoire of concepts and arguments by which Western-trained (African and non-African) scholars as well as indigenous historians
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