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Sufism and Islamic Brotherhoods in Africa

African And African-american Studies 4213 - Spring 2020

Muslim societies are prevalent in Africa-from the Horn, the North, the East to the West, with smaller conclaves in Central and South Africa. Islam has played an influential role in these diverse societies, particularly through its Sufi form. Even though Sufism originated in the Arabian Peninsula, it has fit well with African beliefs and cultures. This course aims to explore Sufi beliefs, values, and practices in Africa. It intends to reconsider the academic constructions of "African Islam" by exploring education, intellectual life, economics, gender roles, social inequalities, and politics. The goal is to show that Africa is a dynamic part of the Muslim world and not a peripheral one, as it is most often portrayed by the international media or historically, through travelers and colonial accounts. African Muslim brotherhoods have served as political mediators between countries and people (i.e. the role of the Tijaniyya in the diplomatic rivalry between Morocco and Algeria, or its role in reconciliation of clanic rivalries in Sudan). In addition, the course will pay attention to hierarchy in particular tariqa. Finally, the course will examine how African Sufi orders have shaped their teachings to fit transnational demands over the 20th and 21st century. We will explore these issues through readings, current media, lectures and special guest speakers.

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Sufism and Islamic Brotherhoods in Africa
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