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Lived Islam in Contemporary Africa

This Summer Institute will explore ways of being Muslim and lived Islam in contemporary Africa from a comparative perspective. Our main objective will be to develop tools for analyzing how people in Africa and the diaspora live Islam across space and time. We will focus on the question of what it means to be Muslim – a question many Muslims on the continent themselves face – and build our discussions from rich empirical studies of lived Islam. Given the diversity of contexts and ways in which people live their religion, Islam is not monolithic, fixed, or static but rather diverse, changing, and contested. An integral part of many people’s lives, Islam is neither self-contained nor a separate sphere. Islam informs many people’s lives and vice versa, and the entanglements of people’s lives with Islam are complex and multiple. Such diversity and entanglements inform people’s ongoing religious debates and contestations. Since established analytic terms (Sufi, reformist, Salafi, etc.) and ostensibly discrete spheres (religion, politics, modernity, etc.) often fail to capture the complex and changing ways of being Muslim, it is particularly important and useful to develop more nuanced tools for apprehending and making sense of the complex ways of being Muslim in Africa and elsewhere at the current historical juncture.
Participants will include recent PhD recipients, advanced graduate students, and a number of invited lecturers from the University of Florida and elsewhere.

Eligibility, application procedure, and deadline:
Recent PhD recipients and advanced graduate students with a focus on empirical studies of Islam and Muslim societies in Africa are invited to apply to participate in the institute. Full costs will be covered for a limited number of participants. Partial funding for others might be available.

Send a CV, contact information for two referees, and an abstract of a paper based on original empirical research to be developed during the summer institute and presented at the final symposium to islaminafrica@clas.ufl.edu by February 11, 2019.

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