Africa Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) Biennial Conference, University of Sussex, Brighton UK, 9-11 September 2014


CfP for the Panel on ‘Islamic Education in Africa’

We welcome participants for a panel titled ‘Islamic Education in Africa: Continuities, Changes and Contestations’ as part of the upcoming Africa Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) biennial conference to be held at the University of Sussex, Brighton UK, from the 9’th -11’th September, 2014.

For any queries about the panel please contact Anneke Newman at, but please use the ASAUK online system via this webpage to submit your 250 word abstract. The deadline for abstracts is the 1st April 2014, submissions will be considered shortly thereafter. Decisions about the exact day on which the panel will be held will not be made by conference organisers until after abstracts are submitted; we apologise for any inconvenience this might cause. 15 minute presentations should be supported by a 3000 word paper, to be circulated to convenors, discussant and other participants by the 15’th August 2015. The language of the conference is English.

Please find the detailed panel description below.
We hope to hear from you soon,
Anneke Newman (University of Sussex) and Hannah Hoechner (University of


Panel 3988 – Islamic Education in Africa: Continuities, Changes and Contestations

Contemporary African societies are characterised by plural educational landscapes, with a variety of actors alongside the state providing schooling services and scholarships. Education has been the site of competing powers where players reflecting different world views have confronted each other. In countries with significant Muslim populations, this dynamic is reflected in a diverse landscape of educational institutions, spanning both formal and informal schools, private as well as public actors, and varying degrees of integration between religious and secular subjects.

For much of the last century this educational context has been characterised by mutual antagonism, with Islamic schools often created in an act of explicit opposition to colonial and postcolonial government education policy, and enjoying popularity among families who perceive inadequacies in the secular state school system. In turn, indigenous Islamic reformers have sought to adapt older models of Quranic schools by introducing Western pedagogies and subjects into religious education.

Furthermore, facing international donor pressure to meet ‘Education For All’ goals, in the last decade some Sahelian countries have begun ambitious state policies of educational reform including unprecedented rapprochement with the Islamic school sector. Similarly, faith-based organisations from the Arab world and Western international development actors have also begun to engage with the Islamic school sector for various ends. Under these circumstances, diverse models of Islamic education have emerged, at times in competition with each another as well as with state schooling.

Yet, despite the importance of Islamic education in people’s everyday lives, and its influence on the social, political and cultural landscape of contemporary Africa, it has suffered relative scholarly neglect. To address this deficit, participants are invited to share original research on this topic. Disciplinary approaches could include, but are by no means limited to: political economy; history; literature, film and media studies; anthropology and sociology; international development and area studies; comparative and international education. Presenters are invited to consider the relevance of their scholarship to wider current academic debates such as engagement with faith in international development; the implications of globalising forces including migration and new media on education; the intersections between axes of social difference like gender, with knowledge and authority; links (genuine or perceived) between Islamic education and Islamist radicalisation; the power struggles which arise when contrasting pedagogies and cosmologies collide; and the methodological challenges of researching such processes.

Anneke Newman (University of Sussex)
Hannah Hoechner (University of Oxford)

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