Research Fellow





Affiliated People


Former members of staff



Dr Abdoulaye Sounaye

Phone: +49-30-80307-0

l Education l Work Experience | Select Publications | Professional Presentations, Lectures, Workshops | Grants, Awards and Fellowships | Service to the Community | Professional Organizations | Languages |


Education Top


PhD, Northwestern University, USA (Religious Studies/Anthropology)


Work Experience Top


Research Fellow
Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin, Germany




Boston University Abroad, Niamey - Niger
Taught two courses (Development Studies and Community Placement)

1997 - 2003

Taught African Systems of Thought.


Abdou Moumouni University, Niamey-Niger
Introduction to Islam; Islam and Modernity; African Philosophy; Religion and Colonialism; History of Islam in Africa; Sociology of Religion; Research method


Taught various courses including African Philosophy, African Religions, etc


Arizona State University, USA
Teaching Associate


Northwestern University, USA
Research Assistant Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa




Coordinated: Assessment of Higher Education in Niger, Niger-EU project.


Resident Director, Boston University Abroad Program, Niger.
Managed the program, taught classes and coordinated academic activities.


Abdou Moumouni University, Faculte des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines, Niamey, Niger. Coordinated departmental activities, teaching, research, and conferences.


Select Publications Top



Islam et Modernité Contribution a l’Analyse de La ré-islamisation Au Niger. L’Harmattan.


Irwo Sunnance yan-no! 1: Youth Claiming, Contesting and Transforming Salafism, in Islamic Africa, 6 (2015) pp. 82-108.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters


“Let’s Do Good for Islam: Two Muslim Entrepreneurs in Niamey, Niger.” In Cultural Entrepreneurship in Africa, 37–57. New York, N.Y.: Routledge.


“Walking to the Makaranta: Production, Circulation, and Transmission of Islamic Learning in Urban Niger.” In Islamic Education in Africa, Robert Launay, 234–52. Indianapolis and Bloomington.


Irwo Sunnance yan-no! 1: Youth Claiming, Contesting and Transforming Salafism, in Islamic Africa, 6 (2015) pp. 82-108.


"The Possibilities are Endless" – Progress and the Taming of Contingency,  ZMO Programmatic Text No 9, 10 S.


"Le français : langue d'élite, langue de religiosité, outil de réislamisation au Niger" in Histoire, Monde et Cultures religieuses N° 36 décembre 2015, pp. 119-140.


Mobile Sunna: Islam, Small Media and Community, Social Compass, 61, 1, 21-29.


Alarama is all at once: Preacher, Media Savvy and Religious Entrepreneur, in Journal of African Cultural Studies, volume 25 issue 1, pp. 88-102.


“Heirs of the Sheikh: Izala and its Appropriation of Usman Dan Fodio in Niger” in Cahiers dEtudes Africaines, vol. 206-207, pp. 427-447.


“Les Clubs des Jeunes Musulmans du Niger: un espace intergénérationnel,” in Muriel Gomez-Perez et Marie Nathalie LeBlanc (éds.) LAfrique des générations. Entre tensions et négociations. Paris, Karthala : pp. 166-217.


Recognizing Religion in Development Processes in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Niger, in Journal Ciência & Trópico, volume 36, number 1, pp. 45-72.


“Go Find the Second Half of Your Faith With These Women!” Women Fashioning Islam in Contemporary Niger. The Muslim World, Vol. 101, 3, pp. 539–554.


“La « discothèque » islamique: CD et DVD au cœur de la réislamisation nigérienne,, 22  - May 2011.


“Doing Development the Islamic Way in Contemporary Niger,” Bulletin of the Euro-African Association for the Anthropology of Social Change and Development, vol. 33, pp. 61-90.


Izala au Niger: une alternative de communauté religieuse,” in L. Fourchard, O. Goerg and M. Gomez-Perez (ed.), Les lieux de sociabilité urbaine dans la longue durée en Afrique, Paris, L'Harmattan, pp.481-500.


“Speaking for Islam: Ulama, Laïcité, and Democratization in Niger,” in American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, Vol 23, Summer 2009, pp.110-127.


“Ambiguous Secularism: Islam, Laïcité and the State in Niger” in Civilisations, Vol. LVIII, 2, December 2009, pp. 41-57.


“Islam, État et société: à la recherche d’une éthique publique au Niger” in Islam, Etat et Société, Rene Otayek and Benjamin Soares, Paris: Karthala, 2009, pp. 327-351


-"Instrumentalizing the Qur'an in Niger Public Life" in Journal for Islamic Studies, Vol. 27, 2007, 211-239.


"Les politiques de l’islam dans l’ère de la démocratisation de 1991 à 2002", in M. Perez--Gomez, éd., lislam politique au sud du Sahara, Paris, Karthala : 2005, pp.503-525.

Book Reviews



Jan Patrick Heiss, Musa: An essay (or experiment) in the anthropology of the individual. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2015, 329 pp. Africa, 87(2).


Mamadou Diouf, Tolerance, Democracy, and Sufis in Senegal. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013, in Journal of African History.


Adeline Masquelier, Women and Islamic Revival in a West African Town. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009, in Islamic Africa, Fall 2011, pp. 123-27

Other writings



Islam au Niger: de la contestation à la normalisation,


Islam au Niger: Eviter l’amalgame,

Professional Presentations, Lectures, Workshops Top


Violences religieuses anti-Charlie au Niger, Niamey 24 August 2016


“Salafi Context and the Charlie Hebdo Riots,” ASA, San Diego, USA, Nov 22


«Le Salafisme en contexte urbain, »Universite de Lausanne, Suisse, Avril 27.


«Impractical Laicite» Tolerance in Contemporary Muslim Thought and Practice, King’s College London, 16-17 March 2015


Producing Islamic Reform: Media Practices and the Construction of Religious Authority in Niger, Feb. 17.


Meanings and Understanding of Shari’a from below, Tempe, Arizona State University, Feb. 24


Irwo Sunnance Yan-no! : Performing difference and distinction among the Izala- Sunnance in Niamey, Niger, Dec. 5, Uppsala, Sweeden.


Religion, Media and Marginalization in Africa from 1800. SOAS, University of London, March 22-24th, London.


La Communauté de prêche: histoire et ethnographie d’un groupe islamique, January 25th, Lasdel, Niamey.


Recognizing Religion in Development, Recife, Brazil, May 21-June 1st


Becoming Preacher: Youth and Islamic Revival in Niamey, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin, Germany, Oct. 9, 2012-11-28


The Wazu Community: Youth Appropriating Preaching in Niger, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany, Oct. 25, 2012


Religion, Media and Marginalization in Africa from 1800. SOAS, University of London, March 22-24th, London.


Mediating Sermon in Niamey, University of Cologne, Germany, Nov. 22, 2012


Gendered Media, Gendered Religion: Women’ Construction of Islamic Authority on TV. Cairo, Egypt, Nov. 1-3, 2011.


La construction de l’ennemi: Islam au Sahel, Paris, Reasopo, Feb 3-4, 2011


Alarama: Preacher, Media Savvy and Religious Entrepreneur, Point Sud, Bamako, Mali, Jan. 3-4, 2011.


Islam, Etat et Laïcité au Niger, IRD Bamako, Mali, Jan. 22, 2010 - Instruments de la nouvelle culture islamique, Lasdel, Niamey, Feb. 16, 2010


Knowledge Economy and Public Islam: Women and Youth Learning Communities in Contemporary Niger, Universite Paris 7, May 13.


Mediating Islam: Preaching, Media and Moral Economy in Niger, University of Boulder, Colorado, June 5.


Religion in Colonial Niger, Modernity and Religious Encounter, Feb. 11.


Imagining Indigenous Religions in Colonial Niger: The Case of the Babule Religious Movement, Society for the Anthropology of Religion, Phoenix, Arizona, April 15.


Appropriating the Dan Fodio’s Jihad, American Academy of Religion, March 23rd.


Epistemology of Religious Studies: Rethinking Categories in the Study of Indigenous religions, African Studies Association, DC, Nov. 2004


Grants, Awards and Fellowships Top

  • Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Post-Doc, Berlin, Germany 2013
  • Rethinking Development South-South Perspectives, Codesria – Clasco – Apisa, Recife, Brazil, May-June, 2012
  • Presidential Fellowship, Northwestern University, 2011-2013.
  • Fellowship: Media Appropriation and Changing Mediascapes in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Media Actors and Sociotechnical Shaping of public spheres, Jan 2011, Bamako, Mali.
  • Graduate Research Grant, Northwestern University, Winter 2010.
  • Hunwick Research Fund / Research on History of Islam in Africa 2009.
  • Social Science Research Council, Pre-dissertation Research, New York 2008.
  • Panofsky Award, Program of African Studies, 2008.
  • Fellowship: Publislam: Espaces Publics Religieux, ANR, France, 2007-2009.
  • The Gwendolen M. Carter fellowship, PAS, Northwestern University, 2007-2008
  • Outstanding MA Thesis, Arizona State University, 2005.
  • Fellowship: Islam, Disengagement of the State, and Globalization in Sub-Saharan Africa, University of Leiden, Netherlands and University of Bordeaux, France: 2004-2005.
  • Fulbright, 2003-2005.


Service to the Community Top

  • Coordinated and supervised several well digging projects in Niger
  • Participated in various building capacity initiatives (education, petty trade, management, etc.) with the Archdiocese of Niamey, Niger.
  • Advising and collaboration with youth organizations in Niamey and Filingue, Niger.
  • Various seminars on research methodology, Niamey – Niger.
  • Coordinated the activities of the Café Philo of the Chicago’s French cultural and learning center, 2008-2009
  • Coordinated also various seminars and workshops on resource management, productivity and teaching pedagogy, Abdou Moumouni University.
  • Information Secretary, Faculty Union, Abdou Moumouni University.
  • Peer Reviewing: African Studies Review, Etudes Sahéliennes, edited volumes.


Professional Organizations Top

  • American Academy of Religion
  • American Anthropological Association
  • African Studies Association
  • West African Research Association


Languages Top

  • French (Fluent)
  • English (Fluent)
  • Hausa (Native)
  • Zarma (Native)
  • Arabic (Intermediate)
  • Spanish (Intermediate)
  • Wolof (Intermediate)
  • German (intermediate)