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West Africa and the Maghreb

Reassessing Intellectual Connections in the 21stcentury

An International Conference to be held at Harvard Divinity School

13-15 September 2018 | Sperry Room

Convened by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professorship on Contemporary Islamic Religion and Society, Harvard Divinity School

Thursday, September 13, 2018 

Welcome Address

5.30-5.45 PM

David N. Hempton, Dean of Harvard Divinity School

Keynote Lecture
5.45-7.00 PM

Ousmane Kane The Transformation of the Pilgrimage Tradition in West Africa”

Friday, September 14, 2018 

Panel 1: Sufism and Sufi Orders in Muslim Africa
9:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Chair: Stephanie Paulsell, Harvard Divinity School

Armaan Sidiqi, Harvard University, Perspectives on “Politicized Sufism”: A Case Study of the ṭarīqa QadīrīBoutchichiyya

Jaison M. Carter, Harvard University, ”Black Muslimness Mobilized: A Study of West African Sufism in Diaspora”

Ariela Marcus-Sells, Elon University, “Technologies of Devotion in the works of Sidi Mukhtar al-Kunti”

Christine Thun-Nhi Dang, New York University, “The Politics of Love in African Performances of Sufi Poetry”

Panel 2: Prayers, Invocations and the Talismanic Tradition
12.00 PM-2.00 PM

Chair: Kimberley C. Patton, Harvard Divinity School

James C. Riggan, Florida State University, “Doing Things with (Divine) Words: al-Ruqya al-Shar’iyya and the creation of an Islamic Modernity”

Zachary Wright, Northwestern University Qatar and Adam Larson, Weill Cornell University – Qatar,“Pious Devotions as Islamic Intellectual History: The Prayers of the Tijāniyya in North and West Africa”

Paul Anderson, Harvard, “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered: A Reconsideration of the Evil Eye and Ruqyah through Ethnographic Analysis”

Oludamini Ogunnaike, College of Williams and Mary, “Poetry in Praise of Prophetic Perfection: A Study of West African Arabic MadīPoetry and Its Precedents”

Panel 3: Re-evalutating the Historic Core Curriculum
2:45 PM - 4:45 PM

Chair: Charles Hallisey, Harvard Divinity School

Ismail Warscheid, CNRS France, “Sufism, Scholarly Networks, and Territorial Integration in the Early Modern Sahara (Algeria, Mauritania, Mali), 1600-1800”

David Owen, Harvard University, “Of Radd and Sharḥ and Ṭurra : The Long and Late Dynamism of the African Commentary Tradition on Akhḍarī's Sullam on Avicennian Organon Logic”

Alexis Trouillot, Université Paris VII, “The Study of Mathematics in the Sahel from the 15thto the 20th C.”

Abubakar Abdulkadir, University of Alberta, Canada, Verse Tradition, Muslim Scholars and Transmission of Islamic Knowledge in Mauritania, The ‘Land of Million Poets’”

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM Concert by Noor Ensemble (Andover Chapel)

Noor Ensemble Noor

Noor Ensemble is composed of artists from Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq who use music to build bridges between all nations and people. The ensemble is famous for its performance of songs in praise of God, Prophets, Peace, and Love.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Panel 4: Jihadi Ideology: What is new, what is not?

8.30 AM-10.30 AM

Chair: Francis X. Clooney, S.J., Harvard Divinity School

William Miles, Northeastern University, “Jihad as Muslim Africa Border Shaper”

Abdulbasit Kassim, Rice University,“Jihadi-Salafism and the Vocabulary of Takfīr in the 21st Century Hausaland and Bornu

Zekeria Ould Ahmed Salem, Northwestern University Evanston, “Assessing the Salafi Current in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania”

Anouar Boukhars, McDaniel College, The Paradox of Modern Jihadist Insurgencies: The Case of the Sahel and Maghreb

Panel 5: New Intellectual Connections

10.45 AM-12.45 PM

Chair: Jacob K. Olupona, Harvard Divinity School

Mansour Kedidir, CRASC Algeria, Connections of Maghrebin and Sub-Saharan Intellectuals: Trajectories and Representations

Fatima Harrak, Institute of African Studies, Rabat Morocco, “Research on Moroccan-African Relations at the Rabat Institute of African Studies”

Robert Parks, CEMA, Algeria, “American Research Centers in North Africa and Sahara-Sahel Studies”

Ebrima Sall, Trust Africa, Senegal “CODESRIA and the New Pan-Africanist Intellectual Connections Across the Sahara"


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West Africa and the Maghreb


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