Evangelical Christians in the Muslim Sahel
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Evangelical Christians in the Muslim Sahel

Barbara Cooper
Distribution: World
Publication date: 6/16/2006
ISBN: 978-0-253-11192-0
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Winner of the 2007 Herskovits Award
Barbara M. Cooper looks closely at the Sudan Interior Mission, an evangelical Christian mission that has taken a tenuous hold in a predominantly Hausa Muslim area on the southern fringe of Niger. Based on sustained fieldwork, personal interviews, and archival research, this vibrant, sensitive, compelling, and candid book gives a unique glimpse into an important dimension of religious life in Africa. Cooper’s involvement in a violent religious riot provides a useful backdrop for introducing other themes and concerns such as Bible translation, medical outreach, public preaching, tensions between English-speaking and French-speaking missionaries, and the Christian mission’s changing views of Islam.

Author Bio

Barbara M. Cooper is Professor of History at Rutgers University. She is author of Marriage in Maradi: Gender and Culture in a Hausa Society in Niger, 1900–1989.


"Rich in its coverage. . . . [This study] demonstrates the emergence of a new missiology, in which Africans are central in evangelizing both the global south and the north." —Ogbu U. Kalu, McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, Modern African Studies , Vol. 47.2 2009

"" —

"Fascinating historical account. . . . Highly recommended for all interested in African Christianity, missions, history, interfaith dialogue, and faith-based organizations." —
Religious Studies Review

"This book is an invaluable asset to all those interested in African history, mission, politics, linguistics, and economics." —Musa A.B. Gaiya, University of Jos, Nigeria, Intnl Bulletin of Missionary Research , July 2007

"[The author's] mastery of the language, history, and culture of Hausa Niger is unparalleled and her conclusions deserve respect." —
MISSIOLOGY: Intnl Review , 35.3 July 2007

"This work is history at its best: a unique, welcome addition to current studies of conflicting religio-cultural perspectives, and a treasure trove of historical perspectives on evangelicals in West Africa." —
American Historical Review , 116.1, February 2011

"Cooper's study is remarkable ... gripping and elegantly written ... [the study] enriches our understanding of religious interaction in Africa." —
IJAHS , Vol. 44, No. 1 2011

"[T]his is a very rich and interesting work, which portrays the complexities of mission work and deepens the understanding of religious dynamics in West Africa." —

"Barbara Cooper has written an extremely rich book, which will appeal

to historians, anthropologists, religious scholars, and all others who appreciate

good historiography." —
Africa Today

"In all, this research is indeed of good historical and anthropological value. It

is an invaluable contribution to Mission Studies, African Studies, and Colonial Studies." —
Journal of Religious History

"Barbara Cooper has conducted research in Maradi, Niger, for many years, and this book reveals the depth of her understanding of the complex nature of the community and the interplay within it of factors such as religion, language and ethnicity.

" —
Bulletin SOAS

"Barbara Cooper’s wonderful book tells the story of the Sudan Interior Mission, an evangelical Christian organization in the Hausa area of Maradi, Niger, and also traces the histories of the various indigenous churches that the Mission gave rise to. A historian by training and profession, Cooper's work is admirably interdisciplinary. She incorporates ethnographic fieldwork, and displays acute sensitivity to the indigenous categories of meaning adopted by her subjects." —Journal of Religion in Africa

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Fundamental Differences
1. Anatomy of a Riot
2. Love and Violence
3. From "Satan's Masterpiece" to "The Social Problem of Islam"
4. A Hausa Spiritual Vernacular
5. African Agency and the Growth of the Church in the Maradi Region, 1927—1960
6. Disciplining the Christian: Defining Elderhood, Christian Marriage, and "God's Work," 1933—1955
7. "An Extremely Dangerous Suspect": From Vichy-Era Travails to Postwar Triumph
8. Impasses in Vernacular Education, 1945—1995
9. Handmaid to the Gospel: SIM's Medical Work in Niger, 1944—1975
10. The Tree of Life: Regenerating and Gendering the Garden after the Fall, 1975—2000
Ça bouge: Hausa Christian Practice in a Muslim Milieu
Epilogue: SIM's Successors and the Pentecostal Explosion
Works Consulted
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