by MUHAMMED HARON (UNIVERSITY OF BOTSWANA) for TIRN on FEBRUARY 11, 2014:

Muhammed Haron (left) and Gil Merkx
Muhammed Haron (left) and Gil Merkx

Many Muslim institutions of higher learning have emerged on the African continent over the past few decades. These institutions have in one way or another made their contributions towards the societies and environments where they are situated. Despite the noble objectives of some that were set up, the objectives often have been unrealized as a result of a lack of financial and other resources. There have, however, been other institutions that have flourished and made invaluable inputs to their respective communities.

It is hard to find a text that adequately covers these institutions, even in places where one might expect it, including in Paul Scrijver’s authoritative Bibliography of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa (Leiden: E.J. Brill 2009),

So when Duke University’s Duke Islamic Studies Center (DISC) announced a workshop to discuss and engage scholars on “Islamic Institutions of Higher Learning in Africa: Their History, Mission and Role in Regional Development,” there were eager responses to participate in what may be regarded as an oft-neglected area of Islamic studies research. The Duke Islamic Studies Center and its Carnegie Corporation of New York-supported Transcultural Islam Project (to be explained in-depth later in this paper) offered an interesting platform for this exploratory workshop.

AfricaIslamGraphicThe workshop organizers, under the co-directorship of Duke professors Mbaye Lo and Bruce Hall, hosted a group of scholars who came from different parts of the continent (and elsewhere from the US and Europe) — scholars who have been evaluating these types of institutions’ status in the transnational Muslim arena.

The organizers were interested to know, inter alia, to what extent these institutions were involved in pursuing research, perpetuating traditional Muslim scholarship, and creatively contributing towards the society’s economic development.

With these noble aims and objectives in mind, let us offer an overview in this report of our two-day workshop at Duke University. (Other sponsors included the International Institute of Islamic Thought  (headquartered in Virginia); The Africa Initiative (Duke); Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (Duke); African & Afro-American Studies (Duke); Duke History Department; Duke Religion Department; Center for Muslim Life (Duke); Franklin Humanities Institute (Duke), Duke Center for International Development; The Kenan Institute for Ethics; Duke Divinity School; and Duke University Center for International Studies.)

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pas_logoNorthwestern University’s Program of African Studies is accepting applications for a full-time tenured appointment at the rank of Associate or Full Professor with an active research agenda that focuses on the role of Islam in African societies. The appointment will be contingent upon a successful tenure review. The appointment will be in a home department in the College of Arts & Sciences (including but not limited to Religious Studies, Anthropology, Philosophy, Sociology, Political Science, Literature, or History) and will be associated with the interdisciplinary Program of African Studies. Continue reading

Northwestern University’s Middle East and North African Studies Program invites applications for a Lecturer or Senior Lecturer of Arabic beginning September 1, 2013. This is a benefits-eligible, full-time position. The position is non-tenure track but is renewable, based on excellent teaching. The teaching load is nine quarter-length courses per year; teaching reductions may be issued in compensation for leadership roles/responsibilities. The successful candidate will have a stellar teaching record and an interest in and demonstrated capacity for leadership. Familiarity with the al-Kitab series and a commitment to teaching both fusha and spoken varieties is a must. M.A. in an area related to Arabic language required, Ph.D. and expertise in a MENA-related field preferred. Continue reading

Northwestern University’s Middle East and North Africa Studies Program invites applications for a two-year Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship beginning September 01, 2013. Strong applicants from any discipline are encouraged to apply, though we have particular interest in applicants whose research and/or teaching is in any of the following areas: Iran, North Africa, the Gulf States, religion, migration, gender and sexuality, race/ethnicity, legal studies, science and technology studies.

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by TIRN on NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Northwestern University’s Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA ), which co-sponsors the journal Islamic Africa and is a coordinate organization of the African Studies Association, is sponsoring a roundtable on “Reconceptualizing African Islam and the Global Community of Believers”  in conjunction with the upcoming of the African Studies Association that will take place in Philadelphia, PA from November 29-December 1, 2012.

The ISITA sponsored roundtable which will take place on Friday November 30, from 10:30am to 12:15pm will be chaired by Scott Reese of  Northern Arizona University and ISITA.  Participants  include Abdulkader Tayob of the University of Cape Town, Cheikh Babou of the University of Pennsylvania, Anne Bang of  the Chr. Michelsen Institute, and Ousman Kobo of Ohio State University. Continue reading