Shi'i Cosmopolitanisms in Africa

Shi'i Cosmopolitanisms in Africa : Lebanese Migration and Religious Conversion in Senegal

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Mara A. Leichtman offers an in-depth study of Shi`i Islam in two very different communities in Senegal: the well-established Lebanese diaspora and Senegalese "converts" from Sunni to Shi`i Islam of recent decades. Sharing a minority religious status in a predominantly Sunni Muslim country, each group is cosmopolitan in its own way. Leichtman provides new insights into the everyday lives of Shi`i Muslims in Africa and the dynamics of local and global Islam. She explores the influence of Hizbullah and Islamic reformist movements, and offers a corrective to prevailing views of Sunni-Shi`i hostility, demonstrating that religious coexistence is possible in a context such as Senegal.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 17.78mm | 413g
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 19 b&w illus., 4 maps
  • 0253016010
  • 9780253016010

Table of contents

Preface: Islam and Politics
Note on Transliteration
Introduction: Locating Cosmopolitan Shi`i Islamic Movements in Senegal
Part I. The Making of a Lebanese Community in Senegal
Introduction to Part I.
1. French Colonial Manipulation and Lebanese Survival
2. Senegalese Independence and the Question of Belonging
3. Shi`i Islam Comes to Town: A Biography of Shaykh al-Zayn
4. Bringing Lebanese "Back" to Shi`i Islam
Part II. Senegalese Conversion to Shi`i Islam
5. The Vernacularization of Shi`i Islam: Competition and Conflict
6. Migrating from One's Parents' Traditions: Narrating Conversion Experiences
Interlude: `Umar: Converting to an "Intellectual Islam"
7. The Creation of a Senegalese Shi`i Islam
Coda: On Shi`i Islam, Anthropology, and Cosmopolitanism
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Review quote

This book provides an original and timely analysis of the dynamics of religion and race in transnational migration. . . . Leichtman's book is sure to make an impact on African studies but should be read by non- Africanists as well. * Journal of West African History * [Leichtman's] volume is a theoretically packed, historically grounded and ethnographically rich exploration into minority religious communities and their migrations. * Journal of Modern African Studies * In popular and media portrayals of Islam, images of fundamentalism and global terrorism obscure more everyday understandings of the varied lives of Muslims around the world. Mara Leichtman's engaging book on Shi'ism in Senegal is a refreshing antidote. * American Ethnologist * This book is highly recommended for anyone with interest in African and Middle Eastern Affairs, Islam and Religious Studies, and Peace Studies. * African Studies Quarterly *
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About Mara A. Leichtman

Mara A. Leichtman is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Muslim Studies at Michigan State University. She is editor (with Mamadou Diouf) of New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal: Conversion, Migration, Wealth, Power, and Femininity.
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