Religious Plurality in Africa
Title Details

312 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

8 b/w illus.

Series: Religion in Transforming Africa

Series Vol. Number: 14

Imprint: James Currey

Religious Plurality in Africa

Coexistence, Conviviality, Conflict

Edited by Marloes Janson, Kai Kresse, Benedikt Pontzen and Hassan A Mwakimako

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Grounded in ethnographic and historiographic research and taking a cross-regional approach, this book explores the complex dynamics of similarity and difference, rapprochement and detachment, and divergence and competition between practitioners of Christianity, Islam and African religious traditions.

Across Africa, Muslims, Christians, and practitioners of African religious traditions live in shared settings, demarcating themselves in opposition to one another and at times engaging in violent conflicts, but also being entangled in complex ways and showing unexpected similarities and mutual cross-overs. However, while encounters and entanglements of African religious traditions with either Islam or Christianity have long been a central research issue, the configuration as a whole has barely been taken into account, even though Muslims, Christians, and practitioners of African religious traditions have long co-existed - and still co-exist - more or less peacefully in many settings in Africa. Building on recent interventions to move beyond the compartmentalization of the study of religion in Africa, this edited volume will spotlight why and how an integrated approach to Islam, Christianity, and African religious traditions is important. Bringing together stimulating case studies from Kenya, Nigeria, Zanzibar, Ghana, and Mozambique that offer new directions for ethnographic and historical research, the volume will not only shed light on an important phenomenon out there in the world - the long-overlooked ways in which Muslims, Christians and practitioners of African religious traditions interact with one another in various majority-minority configurations - but will also engage with a critical rethinking of the study of religion in Africa (and beyond).
Foreword by Birgit Meyer

Introduction: Relational Perspectives on Islam, Christianity, and African Religious Traditions, by Marloes Janson, Benedikt Pontzen, Kai Kresse
Part I: Multiple Fields: How to Study Religious Entanglement?
1 Thinking with Internal Comparison: Mutual Perceptions in Social Dynamics on the Kenyan Coast - Kai Kresse
2. Polyontological Mobility: Border-Making and Border-Crossing in African Religions - Devaka Premawardhana
3. 'Living Tradition': Histories and Presences of Local Religious Traditions in Asante, Ghana - Benedikt Pontzen
Part II: Islam, Christianity, and African Religious Traditions in the Public Domain
4. Between the Crescent and Cross: Politicized Remains of Local Religious Traditions in the North of Nigeria - Shobana Shankar
5. Popular Music, Mijikenda Tradition, and Religious Coexistence in Coastal Kenya - Erik Meinema
Part III: Wellbeing and Healing
6. Coming to Terms with Religion/s: Islamic Medicine in Zanzibar - Hanna Nieber
7. The Mallam and the Modalities of Coexistence in the Ghanaian Multi-Religious Space - Kodjo Senah

Afterword by Ebenezer Obadare

Marloes Janson is Professor of West African Anthropology at SOAS University of London. Her publications include Islam, Youth, and Modernity in the Gambia: The Tablighi Jama'at (2013), winner of the Amaury Talbot Prize for African Anthropology, and Crossing Religious Boundaries: Islam, Christianity, and 'Yoruba Religion' in Lagos, Nigeria (2021).

Kai Kresse is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Freie Universität Berlin, and Vice-Director for Research at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO). His books include Philosophising in Mombasa: Knowledge, Islam, and Intellectual Practice on the Swahili Coast (2007), shortlisted for the ASA Herskovits Award, and Swahili Muslim Publics and Postcolonial Experience (2019).

Benedikt Pontzen is an anthropologist and writer. He is the author of Islam in a Zongo: Muslim Lifeworlds in Asante, Ghana (Cambridge University Press/International African Institute, 2021; Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2023) and co-editor of a special issue on religious minorities in Muslim Africa (Islamic Africa, 2022).

Hassan Mwakimako is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Pwani University, Kenya. He has authored and co-authored articles published in peer-reviewed journals including Religion Compass, Islamic Africa, Journal of Eastern African Studies, and the Journal of Contemporary African Studies.

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9781847013903

July 2024

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Title Details

312 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

8 b/w illus.

Series: Religion in Transforming Africa

Series Vol. Number: 14

Imprint: James Currey