West Africa's Women of God

West Africa's Women of God

Alinesitoué and the Diola Prophetic Tradition
Robert M. Baum
Distribution: World
Publication date: 11/09/2015
Format: Paperback 6 b&w illus., 4 maps, 1 table
ISBN: 978-0-253-01788-8
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West Africa’s Women of God examines the history of direct revelation from Emitai, the Supreme Being, which has been central to the Diola religion from before European colonization to the present day. Robert M. Baum charts the evolution of this movement from its origins as an exclusively male tradition to one that is largely female. He traces the response of Diola to the distinct challenges presented by conquest, colonial rule, and the post-colonial era. Looking specifically at the work of the most famous Diola woman prophet, Alinesitoué, Baum addresses the history of prophecy in West Africa and its impact on colonialism, the development of local religious traditions, and the role of women in religious communities.

Author Bio

Robert M. Baum is Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and Religion at Dartmouth College. He is author of Shrines of the Slave Trade: Diola Religion and Society in Precolonial Senegambia.


“A masterful book that explores a little known part of Africa and makes it the showcase for transformative changes involving colonial agents, local subjects, religious narratives, and unpredictable outcomes.”
 — Bruce Lawrence, author of The Qur'an: A Biography

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Table of Contents

1. Prophets, Gender, and Religious Change among the Diola of Senegambia
2. The Diola: An Ethnographic Introduction
3. Koonjaen, Felupe, and Diola Prophets in Precolonial Senegambia
4. Women Prophets, Colonization, and the Creation of Community Shrines of Emitai, 1890–1913
5. Prophetism at the Peak of Colonial Rule, 1914–1939
6. Alinesitoué Diatta and the Crisis of the War Years, 1939–1944
7. The Prophetic Teachings of Alinesitoué, Her Successors, and a Contested Diola Prophetic Tradition

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