Religion, Media and Marginality in Africa since 1800: SOAS, 23-24 March 2013.

23-24 March 2013 / 9am-5pm
SOAS, University of London
Programme and registration details below (online registration closes at noon on March 21).

The workshop is inspired by recent scholarship that examines the intersection between forms of communication and the growth of new religious constituencies. It seeks to further pursue these insights in the context of nineteenth and twentieth century Africa. We are particularly interested in how media practices enabled, shaped, and limited forms of claims-making by relatively marginal individuals and groups in religious contexts. The media focus covers both ‘old’ (including handwriting and print technologies) and ‘new’ (including the internet) forms.  Participants will explore media history and practice with reference to religious contexts or content, as well as cases where the religious aspect of media use is one among several. Other themes include the creation of publics – religious and otherwise – in interaction with various forms of old and new media; the making and contesting of sacred texts; the materiality of media; and preaching in the public sphere.

Speakers include:

  • Halkano Abdi Wario (Moi University, Kenya)
  • Gabeba Baderoon (Penn State)
  • Heike Behrend (University of Cologne)
  • Annalisa Butticci
  • Andre Chappatte (SOAS, University of London)
  • David Gordon (Bowdoin College)
  • Elizabeth Gunner (University of Johannesburg)
  • Bruce Hall (Duke)
  • Sean Hanretta (Stanford University)
  • Mara Leichtman (Michigan State University)
  • David Maxwell (Cambridge University)
  • Derek Peterson (University of Michigan)
  • Katrien Pype (Leuven)
  • Scott Reese (Northern Arizona University)
  • Dorothea Schulz (University of Cologne)
  • Nkosinathi Sithole (University of Zululand)
  • Abdoulaye Sounaye (Abdou Moumouni University)
  • Robert Vinson (College of William and Mary)
  • Richard Werbner (Manchester University)
  • Emma Wild-Wood (Cambridge University)
Registration at the conference is required of all attendees (online registration closes at noon on 21 March).  Fee includes attendance at the 2 day conference, refreshments and a light lunch.Fee

  • £25 standard
  • £15 student* (students will have to show proof of ID upon arrival)

Book a Place

Further Information:
Sponsored by: Arts & Humanities Research Council and Cambridge University



Programme: Religion, Media and Marginality in Africa since 1800

 23-24 March 2013, SOAS

Saturday 23 March 2013

9:00-9:30 – Registration and Coffee

9:30-11:30 – Panel 1 ‘Religious Representations in the News Media’

Gabeba Baderoon, Penn State:  ‘Oscillating Figures: Muslims in the Mainstream and Muslim Media in South Africa’

Liz Gunner, University of Johannesburg: “The Angel of the Sabbath is the greatest angel of all: media, rhetoric and marginality in a South African church’

Halkano Abdi Wario, Moi University: ‘Framing “Terror” in Muslim Newsletters: Alternative Faith-based Media and Dissemination of National News in Kenya’

11:30-11:45 – Coffee break

11:45-1:45 – Panel 2 ‘Diversity of Religious Observance in Mali’

Bruce S. Hall, Duke:  ‘Publishing Nawazil on Slavery: New Debates about Islam and slavery in the Sahel’

Dorothea Schulz, University of Cologne: Title t.b.c. [on 1980s cassette sermons in Mali]

Andre Chappatte, SOAS:  ‘When “old” things meet “new” things: The popularity of cassette-zikiris among young Muslims in contemporary Mali’

1:45-3:00 – Lunch

3:00-5:30 – Panel 3 ‘Ethnicity, Orality and Literacy’ (there will be a ten-minute coffee break halfway through)

David Maxwell, Cambridge University: ‘Missionary Science and Christian Literacy in the Making of Luba Ethnicity’

Nkosinathi Sithole, University of Zululand: ‘Beyond African Nationalism: Isaiah Shembe and the hymns in Ibandla lamaNazaretha’

Derek Peterson, University of Michigan:  ‘Paperwork and the Millennium’

Emma Wild-Wood, Henry Martyn Centre, Cambridge University: ‘Bible translation and the politics of national identity in Western Uganda, 1900-1930’

Sunday 24 March

9:30-11:30 – Panel 4 ‘Diasporas Within and Beyond Africa’

Annalisa Butticci, Harvard: ‘Enlarging the Kingdom: African Pentecostals in Italy’

Robert Trent Vinson, College of William and Mary:  “Princes Shall Out of Egypt and Ethiopia Shall Stretch Forth Her Hands to God”: Marcus Garvey, the Negro World and 1920s South African Prophetic Politics’

Mara Leichtman, Michigan State University: ‘Islamic Preaching in the Diaspora: The Dakar Sermons of Lebanese Shaykh al-Zayn’

11:30-11:45 – Coffee

11:45-1:45 – Panel 5 ‘Visual Media and Gender’

Abdoulaye Sounaye, Northwestern University: ‘Mallama Ta Ce: Women’s TV fatwa practices in contemporary Niger’

Richard Werbner, University of Manchester: ‘Feedback, Reception and Ethnographic Film-making’

Heike Behrend, University of Cologne:  “Photography as Unveiling”: Muslim Discourses and Practices along the East African Coast’

1:45-3:00 – Lunch

3:00-5:30 – Panel 6 ‘Establishing Orthodoxies’ (there will be a ten-minute coffee break half way through)

Scott Reese, Northern Arizona: ‘Media, Marginality and the Moral Community in Colonial Aden: Why Zar failed when Tamburra Succeeded’

Katrien Pype, Leuven: ‘The Rise and Downfall of a Marial Cult: Media and Religious Competition in Postcolonial Kinshasa’

Sean Hanretta, Stanford: ‘Formal Care: Religion and Written Genres in the Gold Coast/Ghana’

David Gordon, Bowdoin College: ‘Tin-Trunk Bibles: Sacred Texts of the Lumpa Church in Zambia’

Co-conveners: Felicitas Becker (Cambridge University), Joel Cabrita (Cambridge University), Marie Rodet (SOAS)

The conference is grateful for funding received from the ARHC, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, SOAS and Cambridge University.


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