Salafism and Pentecostalism on University Campuses in Benin and Togo since the 1970s: Lived Religion in Secular Contexts (Remoboko)

Dr. Frédérick Madore

The research project focuses on Salafism and Pentecostalism on the campuses of the Université d’Abomey-Calavi (Benin) and the Université de Lomé (Togo) since the 1970s. It examines the plurality of ways in which university students practice their religion and make their religious identity meaningful in their everyday lives. In doing so, this study seeks to explain why religion has been able to occupy such an important place in students’ lives and in the academic sphere, which was formerly dominated by leftist and secular ideologies. More specifically, the study investigates how Salafi and Pentecostal groups define religious communities and proper practice, both in contradistinction from other competing religious student organizations and through processes of borrowing and readapting prayer styles, proselytizing techniques, media practices, and organizational strategies. The project also reflects on how the rise of religious activism on campus has redefined the Western academic model of the public university in the region and its secular intellectual culture.