Personen

Dr. Benedikt Pontzen

Gast

Forschungsprojekt: “Lived Religious Diversity in Asante, Ghana”
Regionaler Schwerpunkt: West Africa, especially Ghana and Mali

Positions

Since 11/2019
Postdoctoral Researcher Berlin Project: “Rethinking Religious Diversity in Asante (Ghana)”
11/2017 - 10/2019
Postdoctoral Fellow Institute of African Studies, University of Bayreuth Project: “Africa Multiple” Cluster of Excellence
11/2015 - 10/2017
Postdoctoral Fellow Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies, University of Bayreuth Project: “Rethinking ‘African Traditional Religion’”
07/2015 - 10/2015
Postdoctoral Fellow Dahlem Research School, Freie Universität Berlin Project: “Rethinking ‘African Traditional Religion’”
01/2015 - 06/2015
Teacher Werkschule Berlin e.V.
10/2010 - 11/2014
Doctoral Fellow Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, Freie Universität Berlin Project: “Islam in the Zongo: Islamic Conceptions, Practices, and Imaginaries among Muslims in Asante (Ghana)”

Academic Qualifications

11/2014
PhD Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin PhD dissertation: “Islam in the Zongo: An Ethnography of Islamic Conceptions, Practices, and Imaginaries among Muslims in Asante (Ghana)” with Summa cum laude
05/2010
Teaching-Certificate: German as a Foreign Language Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge
03/2009
Magister Artium (MA) Social and Cultural Anthropology and African Studies, Freie Universität and Humboldt University Berlin
03/2006
BA (equivalent) Social and Cultural Anthropology and African Studies, University of Cologne

Publications

Monographs

2021 Islam in a Zongo: Muslim Lifeworlds in Asante, Ghana. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2014 “Islam in the Zongo: An Ethnography of Islamic Conceptions, Practices, and Imaginaries among Muslims in Asante (Ghana)” PhD dissertation, Freie Universität Berlin.

2009 “Individuum und Dividuum: Personenkonzepte im Vergleich” MA thesis, Freie Universität Berlin.

Articles in Peer Reviewed Journals

2021 “Introduction: The Formation of Religious Minorities in Muslim Africa”, Journal of Religion in Africa, forthcoming. Co-authored with Terje Ostebo.

2020 “What’s (Not) in a Leather Pouch? Tracing Islamic Amulets in Asante (Ghana)”, Africa 90 (5): 870-889.

2018 “‘Caring for the People’: ZuriaFM – An Islamic Radio Station in Asante (Ghana)”, Islamic Africa 9 (2): 209–231.

2017 “‘Speaking for Islam’ and Religious Authority in Zongos in Asante (Ghana)”, Journal of Religion in Africa 47 (1): 42-71.

Contributions to Edited Volumes

2021 “Muslims’ Laden Quests for Well-Being: Ambiguous Dealings with Spirits and the Divine”, in Ostebo, Terje (ed.). Handbook on Islam in Africa. New York: Routledge, forthcoming. “‘To Be a Malam Is Not an Easy Thing’: Men of Islamic Learning in a Zongo in Asante (Ghana)”, in Frede, Britta; Salomon, Noah; Seesemann, Rüdiger (eds.). Transformations in Islamic Knowledge in Africa. Leiden: Brill, forthcoming.

2020 “‘Those Who Pray Together’: Religious Practice, Affect, and Dissent among Muslims in Asante (Ghana)”, in Dilger, Hansjörg; Bochow, Astrid; Burchardt, Marian; Wilhelm-Solomon, Matthew (eds.). Affective Trajectories: Religion and Emotion in African Cityscapes. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 185–201.

Book Reviews

2020 Konadu, Kwasi. Our Own Way in This Part of the World: Biography of an African Community, Culture, and Nation. Durham: Duke University Press, 2019. African Studies Quarterly 19 (2): 80-81. Matory, J. Lorand. The Fetish Revisited: Marx, Freud, and the Gods Black People Make. Durham: Duke University Press, 2018. Anthropos 115 (1): 246-247.

2019 Becker, Felicitas, Joel Cabrita, and Marie Rodet (eds.). Religion, Media, and Marginality in Modern Africa. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2018. African Studies Quarterly 18 (3): 70-71.

2018 Yunus Dumbe. Islamic Revivalism in Contemporary Ghana. Huddinge: Södertörns Högskola, 2013 and David Owusu-Ansah, Abdulai Iddrisu, and Mark Sey. Islamic Learning, the State and the Challenges of Education in Ghana. Trenton: Africa World Press, 2013. Islamic Africa 9 (1): 113-118.

2014 Schielke, Samuli and Liza Debevec (eds.). Ordinary Lives and Grand Schemes: An Anthropology of Everyday Religion. New York: Berghahn, 2012. AllegraLab. Accessible under: allegralaboratory.net/review-ordinary-lives-and-grandschemes-an-anthropology-of-everyday-religion-edited-bysamuli-schielke-liza-debevec/

Miscellaneous

2017 Conference Report on the BIGSAS Conference “Thinking through Theory/Thinking through Data” in Newsletter of African Studies at University of Bayreuth.

2016 Two Photographs in Kasmani, Omar and Stefan Maneval (eds.). Muslim Matter. Berlin: Revolver Publishing.

2010 Translation from French to German of Raphael Rousseleau. Les créatures de Yama: Ethnohistoire d’une tribu de l’Inde (Orissa). Bologna: CLUEB, 2008.

Teaching Experience (Selection)

05/2019
“Lived Islam in Contemporary Africa” Institute at the University of Florida; PhD and postdoctoral participants Sessions: Lived Islam, Religion and the Public Sphere, Religious Encounters, Data and Research Ethics

01/2019 – 04/2019
“Islam in Africa” Seminar (BA/MA/PhD); Religious and African Studies at the University of Florida

10/2015 – 08/2018
Advising and support of PhD, MA, and BA students at BIGSAS and at the University of Bayreuth

10/2017 – 03/2018
“‘African Traditional Religion’ in Africa and Academic Literature” Seminar (BA/MA); Religious Studies/Anthropology at the University of Bayreuth

04/2017 – 09/2017
“The Anthropology of Knowledge” Seminar (PhD);Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies

10/2016 – 03/2017
“Propaedeutic: Fundamentals and Enhancement of Scientific Working Techniques” Seminar (PhD), Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies

Scholarships and Grants (Selection)

09/2019
Travel and conference grant to attend the “Pathways of Knowledge: Internal Debate and Critique in Africa” Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya

07/2019
Travel and conference grant to attend the Ghana Studies Association Conference in Accra by the University of Florida

06/2019
Travel and conference grant to attend the European Conference for African Studies in Edinburgh by the University of Florida

03/2019
Workshop grant for seminars with Tom McCaskie and Lynne Brydon by the University of Florida

11/2018
Travel and conference grant to attend the African Studies Association Annual Conference in Atlanta by the University of Florida

11/2017
Travel and conference grant to attend the African Studies Association Annual Conference in Chicago by the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic Exchange Service)

Invited Presentations and Roundtables (Selection)

10/2019
“‘Speaking for Islam’: Three Malams and Their Claims to ʿIlm in a Zongo in Asante” Fragmentation of Religious Authority in Muslim Africa Workshop by Indiana University, Berlin

09/2019
“Living with Spirits in Asante, Ghana” Pathways of Knowledge: Internal Debate and Critique in Africa Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya

03/2019
“Bōkā or How One Religion Sees Another: Islamic Discourses on ‘African Traditional Religion’ in Asante, Ghana” European Academy for the Study of Religion Conference, Bologna

09/2018
“Contesting Ṣadaqa: Everyday Islam and Its Diversity in Zongos in Asante (Ghana)” Research Seminar, Center for African Studies, University of Florida

11/2017
“Rethinking ‘African Traditional Religion’ in Asante (Ghana)” African Studies Associtation Annual Conference, Chicago

10/2017
“Academic Writing” Researching and Writing Culture and Society Workshop at the University of Bayreuth

Presentations (Selection)

06/2019
“Bōkā or How One Religion Sees Another: Islamic Discourses on ‘African Traditional Religion’ in Asante, Ghana” European Conference for African Studies, Edinburgh

06/2018
“‘African" Religions and ‘Religion’ in Africa” VAD Conference, Leipzig

06/2018
“The Engaging Elsewhere (?)” Engaging the Elsewhere Workshop, Freie Universität Berlin

10/2017
“Bōkā or How One Religion Sees Another: Islamic Discourses on ‘African Traditional Religion’ in Asante, Ghana” NGG Conference Dynamics of Religious Diversity, Utrecht

07/2017
“Rethinking ‘African Traditional Religion’ in Asante (Ghana)” Research Seminar, Religious Studies, University of Bayreuth

11/2016
“Rethinking ‘African Traditional Religion’ in Asante (Ghana)” Ethnologisches Kolloquium, University of Bayreuth

07/2016
“Rethinking ‘African Traditional Religion’ in Asante (Ghana)” Christians and Muslims in Africa Summer School at Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin

Conferences, Workshops, and Panels Organized (Selection)

07/2019
'“Theorizing Zongos: Strangers and Their Communities in Ghana” Panel at the Ghana Studies Association Conference together with Ann Cassiman, University of Ghana

05/2019
“‘Lived Islam in Contemporary Africa” Center for Global Islamic Studies Summer Institute, University of Florida

03/2019
Research Seminar with Tom McCaskie and Lynne Brydon, University of Florida

01/2019
“Religious Minorities in Muslim Africa” Islam in Africa Working Group Workshop, University of Florida

10/2018
“Muslim Youths and Lived Islam in Africa and Beyond” Center for Global Islamic Studies Workshop, University of Florida

07/2017
“Female Voices in Islam in 20th Century West Africa” BIGSAS Workshop, University of Bayreuth

Professional Membership

Since 06/2017
African Studies Association
Since 06/2017
ASA Working Group “Islam in Africa”
Since 02/2017
Working Group “Religion in Africa” Deutsche Vereinigung für Religionswissenschaften (founding member)
Since 10/2012
Ghana Studies Association
Since 10/2009
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie (German Anthropological Association)

Reviewer and Committee Membership

Journals
Africa; African Studies Quarterly; Forum for Development Studies; Islamic Africa; Journal of Contemporary African Studies; Journal of Religious History; Material Culture; Material Religion

Editorial Boards
African Studies Quarterly, 08/2018 – 07/2019

Committees
Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence, University of Bayreuth, 11/2017 – 10/2019
PhD applications, BIGSAS, 10/2015 – 10/2017
PhD applications, BGSMCS, 11/2010 – 02/2011
Students’ representative council, Social and CulturalAnthropology, Freie Universität Berlin, 10/2005 – 10/2008
Students’ representative council, Institute of African Studies, University of Cologne, 04/2003 – 03/2005

Languages

  • First Language: German
  • Business fluent English, French
  • Fluent Asante Twi (Akan)
  • Advanced Bamanankan (Bambara/Dioula)
  • Basics Spanish, Hausa, Kiswahili