Muslim Societies in Africa

Muslim Societies in Africa

A Historical Anthropology
Roman Loimeier
Distribution: World
Publication date: 6/28/2013
Format: cloth 376 pages, 18 maps
6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-253-00788-9
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Muslim Societies in Africa provides a concise overview of Muslim societies in Africa in light of their role in African history and the history of the Islamic world. Roman Loimeier identifies patterns and peculiarities in the historical, social, economic, and political development of Africa, and addresses the impact of Islam over the longue durée. To understand the movements of peoples and how they came into contact, Loimeier considers geography, ecology, and climate as well as religious conversion, trade, and slavery. This comprehensive history offers a balanced view of the complexities of the African Muslim past while looking toward Africa’s future role in the globalized Muslim world.

Author Bio

Roman Loimeier is Associate Professor at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Göttingen. He is author of Between Social Skills and Marketable Skills: The Politics of Islamic Education in Twentieth Century Zanzibar and Islamic Reform and Political Change in Northern Nigeria.


"A masterly synthesis of scholarship on Islam and Muslim societies in Africa by one of the leading scholars in the field." —Robert Launay, Northwestern University

A comprehensive introductory history of Muslim Africa at once accessible to students and filled with scholarly insights in various registers." —John H. Hanson, Indiana University Bloomington

"Loimeier's impressive book presents a critical assessment of scholarship on the 1,300 years of the historical development and evolution of Muslim societies in Africa. . . . Highly recommended." —

"Loimeier's impressive book presents a critical assessment of scholarship on the 1,300 years of the historical development and evolution of Muslim societies in Africa . . . Highly recommended." —Choice

"Unlike most academic treatments where scholarship gets in the way of readership and clarity, Loimeier's work is a pleasure to read from start to finish. . . . [T]his great study is a must for anyone interested in Islam and its history, and is clearly the book to read on this fascinating subject." —The Muslim World Book Review

"[This] book clearly debunks the notion of the peculiarity of Muslim societies in Africa and provides a nuanced analysis that places their history in that of a much more globalized world. This is a must read for anyone seeking to understand the history of Islam in Africa. . . . Overall this is a masterful contribution to the growing literature on Islam in Africa, suitable for advanced undergraduate and graduate classes about the history of Muslim societies in Africa." —Journal of African History

"Muslim Societies in Africa avoids the temptation to idealise or demonise Africa’s Muslims, to homogenise them, or to categorise them as either more or less orthodox than Muslims elsewhere. It will be an invaluable aid to scholars who study particular Muslim societies in Africa and who desire a broader understanding of Islam’s influence on the continent as a whole." —Africa Spectrum

"This is an erudite and comprehensive account of the history of Islam in Africa through the

colonial period." —
International Journal of African Historical Studies

"It is rare for a book to textualize the research material and take the position of directing future course of research. This one successfully does both. It can be highly recommended for those scholars and researchers engaged in serious study of Islam and Muslims in African society and history." —Journal of Islamic Studies

"Roman Loimeier has written another powerful book that synthesizes a rich variety of sources offering fresh insight into the history of Islam in Africa that emphasizes its uniqueness, while recognizing its diversity. . . . This is essential reading for students of Islam at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and certainly a must read for all scholars of Islam in Africa." —Islamic Africa


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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations

Introduction: The Geographical and Anthropological Setting

1. Is there an African Islam?
2. The bilād al-maghrib: Rebels, saints and heretics
3. The Sahara as connective space
4. Dynamics of Islamization in the bilād al-sÙdān
5. The dynamics of jihād in the bilÁd al-sÙdÁn
6. Islam in Nubia and Funj
7. Egyptian colonialism and the MahdÐ in the Sudan
8. Ethiopia and Islam
9. Muslims on the Horn of Africa
10. The East African Coast
11. Muslims in Cape Town: Community and Dispute
12. Muslims under Colonial Rule
Glossary of Arabic terms
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