Islam in Africa South of the Sahara: Essays in Gender Relations and Political Reform

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9780810884694: Islam in Africa South of the Sahara: Essays in Gender Relations and Political Reform
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Islam in Africa South of the Sahara: Essays in Gender Relations and Political Reform draws together contributions from scholars that focus on changes taking place in the practice of the religion and their effects on the political terrain and civil society. Contributors explore the dramatic changes in gender relations within Islam on the continent, occasioned in part by the events of 9/11 and the response of various Islamic states to growing negative media coverage. These explorations of the dynamics of religious change, reconfigured gender relations, and political reform consider not only the role of state authorities but the impact of ordinary Muslim women who have taken to challenging the subordinate role assigned to them in Islam.

Essays are far-ranging in their scope as the future of Islam in sub-Saharan Africa falls under the microscope, with contributors addressing such topics as the Islamic view of the historic Arab enslavement of Africans and colonialist ventures; studies of gender politics in Gambia, northern Nigeria, and Ghana; surveys of the impact of Sharia law in Nigeria and Sudan; the political role of Islam in Somalia, South Africa, and African diaspora communities.

Islam in Africa South of the Sahara is an ideal reader for students and scholars of international politics, comparative theology, race and ethnicity, comparative sociology, African and Islamic studies.

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About the Author:

Pade Badru is of professor and chair of the department of social and behavioral sciences at Savannah State University. He is a former professor of Africana Studies at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Brigid M. Sackey is professor of anthropology at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon. She was trained in Ghana, Germany (Philipps University), and the United States (Temple University). She was deputy director and acting director of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon in 2008 and 2009.

Review:

Scholars from disciplines as varied as sociology, history, law, political science, anthropology, and religious studies have authored the 16 chapters in this interesting and at times unexpected interdisciplinary collection focusing on Islam in Africa. Accordingly, the chapters take varied methodological and theoretical approaches, ranging from ethnography to a review of legal codes. However, a general focus on gender and politics, as the subtitle suggests, holds the volume together. The majority of the book's chapters focus on Islam in West Africa, particularly in Ghana and Nigeria, although there is one chapter each on Somalia, Sudan, South Africa, and the Nation of Islam. Surprisingly, there is no coverage of the heavily Muslim Swahili Coast other than a brief mention in the preface. Many chapters contain an overview or very general introduction to certain ideas in the Islamic tradition that may not be necessary for all readers. Several of the chapters have been previously published elsewhere, some recently, some in the 1990s. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. (CHOICE)

Recent times have witnessed greater Islamic political expression and sub-Saharan Africa has also experienced its version of greater political Islamic influence. This book’s intent is to focus on gender relations and Sharia law in sub-Saharan Africa through a collection of essays. The first part consists of four essays that explore the historical spread of Islam in sub-Saharan Africa, including one that traces the multiple views on slavery in Africa. The second part has five essays that focus on the status of women and the role some of the women organizations are playing in politics and religion. The next four essays explore the intersection between gender and Sharia law. The last section has three essays that are case studies of Islamism in Somalia, South Africa, and one on the Nation of Islam in the United States. Each of the 16 essays has extensive notes, and some have a bibliography. However, there is a selected bibliography section at the end as well as a glossary of common Islamic words. The addition of an index is helpful to find areas of interest quickly. This book covers primarily Central and Western sub-Saharan Africa (although there are a small number of essays that cover other areas). . . .The essays are useful for students interested in case studies of women organizing to reinterpret traditional Islamic customs and renegotiate their space in sub-Saharan society. (American Reference Books Annual)

Since the end of the twentieth century no religion has attracted more attention than Islam, a glaring gap exists in the recent flood of publications on the religion. This is due to the shortage of scholarly work on Islam in Africa. This book aims to fill the gap. . . . [This] publication provides unique insights into culture and Islam, the concepts of jihad, slavery and Sharia, and the status of women in Muslim countries. . . . [Recommended] for readers who already have a good knowledge of Islam, but seek a case study of Africa. (African Studies Quarterly)

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