2017-18 Academic Year

New Directions in the Study of Islamic Scholarship

5-6 October 2017

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Convener : Ousmane Kane





Drawn from a variety of disciplines including history, Islamic studies, anthropology, philosophy, religious studies, and political science, these conference participants explored the literary cultures expressed in the Arabic language or in African languages written with the Arabic script. The majority of conference participants were junior scholars who presented fresh and ongoing research that has the potential to offer a much needed counter narrative and historical revision of not only Islamic erudition but also African erudition.

Taking into account geographic, thematic, and disciplinary distribution, 12 papers presented at the conference Texts, Knowledge and Practice were selected for the Radcliffe workshop and 5 new papers were recruited to advance our knowledge of the field through further exploration of some important themes touched upon at the conference, discussion of new themes, and the interrogation of some unexamined assumptions in the emerging literature on Islamic scholarship in Africa. There are five such themes that the workshop will explore: the role of sub-Saharan Africans as students and teachers; the role of Ajami in the transmission of sophisticated knowledge; the study of Islamic scholarship in Africa beyond literacy and orality; Islamic cosmopolitism in Africa; and the role of information and communication technology (ICT) in the reconfiguration of knowledge transmission.

new direction


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