1. Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient
  2. Research
  3. Contested Religion and Intellectual Culture

Contested Religion and Intellectual Culture

How does religiosity interrelate with morality and intellectual culture? The research unit Contested Religion takes this basic question that is at the heart of social life across the global south. Focusing on both contemporary and historical cases, the unit engages the ways in which religiosity is mobilized and invested in individual and collective life projects. How do both religiosity and knowledge inform and at the same time challenge political orders, eschatological aspirations, and moral norms? What forms, sites and agents of intellectual culture emerge within that context? Although engaging primarily Muslim contexts, the unit is particularly interested in the interactions between Muslim and their non-Muslim neighbors. Consequently, exclusionary politics, sectarianism, collaboration and strategic borrowing within and between groups and communities are important relational modalities, which the research unit analyses.

Associated and Affiliated Researchers

Dr. Diliara Brileva

Public Theology: The Formation of New Theological Discourse in the Periodical Press of Muslim Tatars in Late Imperial Russia

Dr. Daniele Cantini

Scholarly Ways: Mobility, Knowledge Production and Research Capacity Building Between Europe and the Middle East

Mamadou Diallo

Religion in Senegalese Laïcité: Enunciations of the Secular in the Colonial and Developmental State (1840-1980)

Dr. Mohammed Hashas

Contemporary Moroccan Thought: On Philosophy, Theology, Society, and Culture

Dr. Benedikt Pontzen

Rethinking ‘African Traditional Religion’: Living with Spirits in Asante, Ghana

PD Dr. Dietrich Reetz

World-Making from the 'Margins': Muslim Global Actors from South Asia

Dr. Arpan Roy

Call to Prayer: Evangelizing in an Arab/Islamic Lifeworld

Dr. Jürgen Schaflechner

The Populism of the Precarious: Marginalization, Mobilization, and Mediatization of South Asia’s Religious Minorities

Muhammad Abubakar Yakasai

Elite Formation and the Trajectory of the Agitation for Sharia Revival in Kano: 1945-2011.

Religion, Morality and Boko in West Africa: Students Training for a Good Life (Acronym: Remoboko)

Remoboko is a study of religiosity and how it affects secular education (boko, in Hausa) in West Africa. It focuses on the presence, competition and conflict between secularism, Salafism and Pentecostalism on four campuses (Université Abdou Moumouni, Niamey, Niger; University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria; Université de Lomé, Togo; and Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Bénin). It examines how students that seek a degree that would ensure them a better life, resort to Salafism and Pentecostalism. How boko in this context is both appealing and rejected is at the core of the project.

Islam West Africa Collection

Alongside his research project, Dr. Frédérick Madore works on the Islam West Africa Collection. It is  a collaborative, open-access digital database that currently contains over 5,000 archival documents, newspaper articles, Islamic publications of various kinds, audio and video recordings, photographs, and references on Islam and Muslims in Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, Nigeria, Togo and Côte d‘Ivoire. This project, funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Science, Health and Care, is a continuation of the award-winning Islam Burkina Faso Collection created in 2021 in collaboration with the University of Florida (USA).



Video report from the conference "From Senegal to Nigeria: The Modernity of Islam in West Africa. Practices, Influences, and Trajectories.", 19.-23. November 2019 in Niamey, Niger.