Africa, Globalization and the Muslim Worlds
Conference organized by The Alwaleed Professorship of Contemporary Islamic Religion and Society at Harvard Divinity School and The Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA) at Northwestern University.
Harvard Divinity School, September 19-21, 2019
Scholarship on globalization of Islamic Africa has been focused either on merely describing (if not romanticizing) African Muslims’ experiences abroad, on one hand, or on exploring how Muslim societies in Africa are affected by global Islamic trends, on the other hand. Little attention has been paid to the ways in which Islam and what it means to be African and Muslim have been and are being negotiated at the intersection of local, regional and global encounters, narratives, perceptions and exchanges.
Questions that we seek to investigate include but are not limited to: How to account for the dynamics of continuity and change in forms of Islamic piety, authority and knowledge production in Africa, in a context of increased global connections? How do African Muslims articulate their religious life in a globalized world? For African Muslims in the diaspora, how do religious links with their homelands shape their relationship to Islam? How do diasporic religious or non-religious experiences affect or alter aspects of lived Islam in Africa? To what extent has the interaction between the so-called Muslim world and Africa shaped Islamic practices and thought or the perception of the so-called Umma? What role does pilgrimage play in connecting African Muslims with other Muslims from distant lands? How do African Muslims navigate notions of Africa and Islam, faith, foreignness and modernity in a globalized world?
This conference will be organized around six panels. The first panel will address the long presence of African Muslims in the Americas. The second, third and fifth panel will deal with transnational Islam, and the sixth panel with emerging paradigms in the study of Islam in Africa. In addition, the conference will bring a group of young Muslim artists called Baraka Boys for a roundtable (fourth panel) followed by a musical performance.
A PDF copy of the program can be found here.