Islamic Education in Africa

Islamic Education in Africa

Writing Boards and Blackboards
Edited by Robert G Launay
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 10/03/2016
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-02302-5
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Writing boards and blackboards are emblematic of two radically different styles of education in Islam. The essays in this lively volume address various aspects of the expanding and evolving range of educational choices available to Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa. Contributors from the United States, Europe, and Africa evaluate classical Islamic education in Africa from colonial times to the present, including changes in pedagogical methods--from sitting to standing, from individual to collective learning, from recitation to analysis. Also discussed are the differences between British, French, Belgian, and Portuguese education in Africa and between mission schools and Qur'anic schools; changes to the classical Islamic curriculum; the changing intent of Islamic education; the modernization of pedagogical styles and tools; hybrid forms of religious and secular education; the inclusion of women in Qur'anic schools; and the changing notion of what it means to be an educated person in Africa. A new view of the role of Islamic education, especially its politics and controversies in today's age of terrorism, emerges from this broadly comparative volume.

Author Bio

Robert Launay is Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University. He is author of Beyond the Stream: Islam and Society in a West African Town, an Amaury Talbot Award winner.


“The contributions cover a wide geographical selection and offer a varied perspective on the changing form and content of Muslim schooling in recent decades, the ways in which Muslim doctrinal orientation, political and social pressures, and secular schooling have influenced these changes, and the multiple ways that Muslim 'learning' has expanded into the public sphere.”
 — Louis Brenner, author of Controlling Knowledge

“Launay's edited volume is an excellent and timely contribution to the literature, likely to become a major reference on Islamic education on the African continent. Everyone with an interest in the topic should read it!”
 — Journal of Religion in Africa

“This is a very rich collection of articles that covers diverse perspectives on Islamic Education in Africa, written by some of the top-of-the-range experts in their respective fields. ”
 — Muslim World Book Review

Islamic Education in Africa makes a significant contribution not only to our understandings of Islam in Africa but also to the broader study of how Islam is learned and woven into the fabric of society. By showing in meticulous detail the enduring and unwavering commitments of African Muslims to Islamic education while providing persuasive explanations about how and why knowledge transmission has continued to be the central bone of contention that divides them, it is a landmark in the anthropology of education.”
 — American Ethnologist

“This edited volume is a welcome contribution to debates on Islamic schooling in Africa both past and present, and will be of interest to scholars working on ‘indigenous’ perspectives and ‘alternative’ types of education more broadly. It is relevant to anyone working on policy, educational decisionmaking and youth experiences of schooling in African countries with Muslim populations.”
 — Compare

“Highly recommended.”
 — Choice

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
Robert Launay

The Classical Paradigm
2. Styles of Islamic Education: Perspectives from Mali, Guinea, and The Gambia
Tal Tamari
3 Orality and the Transmission of Qur’anic knowledge in Mauritania
Corinne Fortier
4. Islamic Education and the Intellectual Pedigree of Al-Hajj Umar Falke
Muhammad Sani Umar

Institutional Transformations
5. Divergent Patterns of Islamic Education in Northern Mozambique: Qur’anic Schools in Angoche
Liazzate Bonate
6. Colonial Control, Nigerian Agency, Arab Outreach, and Islamic Education in Northern Nigeria, 1900-1966
Alex Thurston
7. Muslim scholars, Organic Intellectuals and the Development of Islamic Education in Zanzibar in the 20th Century
Roman Loimeier
8. The New Muslim Public School in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Ashley Leinweber

Innovations and Experiments
9. The al-Azhar School Network: A Murid Experiment in Islamic Modernism
Cheikh Anta Babou
10. Mwalim Bi Swafiya Muhashamy-Said: A Pioneer of the Integrated (Madrasa) Curriculum in Kenya and Beyond
Ousseina D. Alidou
11. Changes in Islamic Knowledge Practices in 20th-Century Kenya
Rüdiger Seesemann
12. Walking to the Makaranta: Production, Circulation, and Transmission of Islamic Learning in Urban Niger
Abdoulaye Sounaye

Plural Possibilities?
13. How (Not) to Read the Quran? Logics of Islamic Education in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire
Robert Launay and Rudolph T. Ware III
14. New Muslim Public Figures in West Africa
Benjamin F. Soares
15. Collapsed Pluralities: Islamic Education, Learning, and Creativity in Niger
Noah Butler

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