Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA)

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Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa
Northwestern University
620 Library Place, Evanston IL 60208

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ISITA sponsors workshops, lectures, conferences, and research meetings on a variety of topics, in Evanston and other locations.   Many of these events are open to the public.  To receive notices of ISITA events or calls for papers, you can subscribe to the ISITA mailing list.

All the events listed below are held at the Program of African Studies seminar room, 620 Library Place, Evanston and are open to the public.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017
12:00 PM to 1:15 PM
Why "Modern" Muslims? Talking about Modern Muslims: A Sudan Memoir
Steve Howard
Director, Center for International Studies and Professor, School of Media Arts and Studies, Ohio University
View full details on Plan-it-Purple.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
12:00 PM to 1:15 PM
Concepts of Legitimacy in the Writings of the Fodiawa of Sokoto
Paul Naylor
PhD Candidate, University of Birmingham
View full details on Plan-it-Purple.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
12:00 PM to 1:15 PM
The Berber Groups of Tripolitania and the Emergence fo the Ethnic Discourse in Colonial
Libya (1911-1922)

Chiara Pagano
PhD Candidate, University of Roma Tre and PAS/ISITA Visiting Scholar


Chicago-area Islam and Africa Seminar:
The goal of this seminar is to provide an opportunity for faculty and students at Chicago-area universities with shared interests in Islam and Africa to come together regularly to exchange ideas.  The group meets several times annually to discuss a paper provided by a graduate student or faculty member.  The papers, which may include drafts of thesis or book chapters, articles in progress, or book prospectuses, are circulated in advance and most of the seminar is dedicated to discussion.  Works in progress are encouraged, as constructive feedback is an important component of this seminar.  The seminar, usually held at Northwestern’s Program of African Studies, is open to the public but we ask that participants read the paper in advance.  If you are interested in presenting a paper at the seminar, please send an email to the ISITA Interim Director.  To receive notices of upcoming seminars, please subscribe to the ISITA mailing list.

List of presentations to the Chicago-area Islam and Africa Seminar:
  • "Muslims Responses to Colonialism in Northern Nigeria as Expressed in Fulfulde Poems," by Mallam Mohammed Bashir Abubakar (Adamawa State University). April 30, 2012.
  •  “Muslim Discourse on Colonialism in Africa: A Case Study of a Poem by Alhaj Umar Karchi (1858-19 34),” by Muhammed al-Munir Gibrill (Indiana University). June 1, 2011.
  •  “Exchange between West Africa and Islamic Egypt: An Archaeological Perspective,” by Choukri Heddouchi (University of Chicago). January 10, 2011.
  • “Islamic Law and Slavery in Premodern Bilad al-Sudan: Readings on Ahmad Baba's Mi'raj al-Su'ud,” by Marta Garcia Novo (CCHS-CSIC, Madrid). Discussant: Kristen Stilt (Northwestern). October 13, 2010.
  •  “What is a Muslim State?”, by Malika Zeghal (University of Chicago Divinity School). May 10, 2010.
  • “Short History of Islam in Africa:  A Discussion of a Book Project,” by Knut Vikor (University of Bergen).  May 26, 2009.
  •  “’Something of kafir’: Reversible Conversions to Christianity within a Muslim Power Group in Nineteenth Century Ethiopia,” by Eloi Ficquet (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris).  Discussant: Bethlehem Djenne (Northwestern).  April 28, 2009.
  •  “Migration, Marriage, and Ethnic Identity Transformation: The Early Development of Islam in Pre-Colonial Casamance, Senegal,” by Aly Dramé (Dominican University).  Discussant: François Richard (University of Chicago).  Co-sponsored by the University of Chicago.  April 14, 2008.
  •  “The Historic ‘Core Curriculum’ and the Book Market in Islamic West Africa,” by Charles Stewart (Visiting Scholar, ISITA) and Bruce Hall (Duke University). Discussant: Muhammad Sani Umar (Northwestern). November 12, 2007.
  •  “Filled with God: Embodied Knowledge and Saintly Authority in West African Islam,” by Zachary Wright (Northwestern).  Discussant: Aly Dramé (Dominican University).  February 21, 2007.
  • “Epigraphy as Discourse,” by Paulo Farias (University of Birmingham), February 7, 2007.
  •  “Ritual, Ceremony and the Articulation of Power During the Sudanese Mahdiyya,” by Kim Searcy (Loyola University). Discussant: Rudolph Ware (Northwestern University).  October 6, 2006.

Archive of Conferences and Workshops Sponsored by ISITA:

Click on the links to view the conference programs, reports, and other related materials when available.

  • The Boko Haram Crisis on the Eve of the Nigerian Elections, Evanston, February 11, 2015.
  • Islamic Radical Movements in Africa: Local Contexts, Transnational Connetions (co-sponsored with the Equality Development and Globalization Studies Program), Evanston, February 6, 2013.
  • Islam in East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean: Historical Connections, Contemporary Debates, Evanston, March 4, 2011.
  • African Muslims' Intellectual Responses to European Colonial Rule, Dakar, Senegal, May 5, 2010.
  • Workshop on Tijani Literature, Fez, Morocco, June 19-22, 2009.
  • Islam and Muslim Youth in Africa, Evanston, April 24, 2009
  • Historical Constructions of “Race” and Social Hierarchy in Muslim West and North Africa , Dakar, Senegal, December 10-12, 2008.
  • Constituting Bodies of Islamic Knowledge, Evanston, November 17-18, 2008.
  • The Constitution of Islamic Libraries in the Senegambia, Dakar, Senegal, July 2008. 
  • Studying Islam and Africa at Northwestern (a symposium in conjunction with the launching of the web catalog of Arabic manuscripts in the Herskovits Library), Evanston, January 23, 2008.
  • Texts, Words, and Images:  New Media and Islam in Africa, Evanston, October 22-23, 2007.
  • L’Enseignement Islamique au Sénégal: Histoire, Transformations et Actualités, Dakar, Senegal, August 8-10, 2007.
  • Sufi Texts, Sufi Contexts, Evanston, May 27, 2007.
  • Islam and the Public Sphere in Africa, Evanston, May 17-19, 2007.
  • Islam et Sphère Publique au Sénégal, Dakar, Senegal, March 12, 2007.
  • Islam and Gender in Africa:  Discourses, Practices, and Strategies of Empowerment, Evanston, May 20-22, 2004.
  • Muslim/Christian Encounters in Africa, Evanston, May 22-24, 2003.
  • African Muslim Responses to the State, with Special Reference to the Colonial Period, Evanston, May 15-19, 2002.
  • African Libraries and the Transmission of Islamic Knowledge in Africa, Evanston, May 25-27, 2001.