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Media and Islam in Africa


This Summer Institute will explore Islam and media in Africa from a comparative perspective. The main objective is to critically examine Muslims and media in Africa given the complex history of different media technologies and the proliferation of new media. We will focus on how new forms and contexts of religious interactions, some made possible through various media, are helping to transform Muslim lifeworlds in Africa. This includes how certain media forms allow more religious perspectives to be heard, and how exposure to new religious orientations influences religious practices, styles, authority, and ways of being Muslim more generally. Such media can sometimes shift or even collapse boundaries between different religious traditions by allowing people to interact across or outside borders. However, religious media can also exacerbate inter- and intra-religious tensions and the exclusion of the religious “Other” (e.g., minorities, secularists, nonbelievers, etc.). They can also facilitate the rise of religious polemics and act as a vehicle for the defamation of the “Other,” sometimes precipitating conflict and even violence. We will build our discussions from theoretical and empirical studies of both old and new media in Africa, which would clearly lend itself to comparative reflection about Islam and media elsewhere in the world, as well as media and religion more generally.

Participants will include recent PhD recipients, advanced graduate students, and a number of invited lecturers from the University of Florida and elsewhere.

Format of the Institute :

 A series of thematic lectures and discussions about media and Islam in Africa and elsewhere in the world, as well as theoretical orientations, featuring University of Florida faculty and invited guests ;
 The workshopping of papers and development of analytical skills through writing of a symposium paper, and oral presentations, and possible publication ;
 Allocated time for use of UF’s library resources ;
 The Summer Institute will culminate in a symposium where the participants will present their papers and receive feedback.

Eligibility, application procedure, and deadline :

Recent PhD recipients and advanced graduate students with a focus on empirical studies of Islam and media-related practices 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 (maximum 500 words) based on original empirical research to be developed during the summer institute and presented at the final symposium to by February 11, 2020.

This Summer Institute has been made possible by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation Initiative on Religion and International Affairs and the University of Florida.

Conveners :
Benjamin Soares and Musa Ibrahim.
Questions and queries can be directed to Musa Ibrahim :