LUCIS/ASCL Lecture: Religiosity and Knowledge in Muslim Context in West Africa: Reconfiguring the Relationship between Boko and Adini

Fieldwork at a school in Nigeria, 2021. Photo credits: Abdoulaye Sounaye.

In many Muslim contexts across West Africa, the Hausa concept of 'boko' has come to mean a Western style of education, in contrast with 'adini', or Islamic religiosity. In this LUCIS Keynote, co-organised with the African Studies Centre Leiden, Dr Abdoulaye Sounaye will discuss the relationship between boko and adini in the light of contemporary Islamic dynamics in West Africa. How does the popularity of Islamic learning and religiosity influence this relationship? Dr Sounaye will demonstrate how these theories of knowledge overlap and engage in constant dialogue with one another, using examples from his fieldwork in Niger and Nigeria. 

This lecture discusses contemporary Islamic dynamics in West Africa, especially the wide appeal of Islamic learning (ilimi, in Hausa) and religiosity (adini, in Hausa) in the ways in which they reconfigure the relationship between boko and adini, and inspire Muslim intellectual culture across the region. Taking examples from Niger and Nigeria, the lecture will show how, in a major shift, wedding boko and adini has produced the socio-Intellectual model of Sheik-Doctor and became even more crucial for achieving individual life goals and responding to the imperatives of social life. This process, I argue, illustrates the dialogical and overlapping nature of epistemologies. The production of a dialogical concept of life and being such as Sheik-Doctor, I will further argue, makes a case for a reexamination of current challenges and models of decolonization, especially in Muslim context.

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Abdoulaye Sounaye leads the research unit “Contested Religion and Intellectual Culture” at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin. His research and publications have so far focused on the complex State, Religion and Society, dealing particularly with urban dynamics, media practices, Islamic reform, West Africans in Germany, Salafi preaching, and religiosity on university campuses in West Africa. 




Date, time and location

11 May 2023
15.30 - 17.00
Kamerlingh Onnes Building / Faculty of Law, Steenschuur 25, 2311 ES Leiden
Room A1.44