News from ISITA

ISITA Perspectives: A Symposium Series
Two books, one topic, and a conversation. 
Our new symposium series brings leading scholars of Islam in Africa to Northwestern University for  discussions of their recently published books. Each symposium features two authors and a discussant. Location: Scott Hall, Room 201, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL.

Rethinking Timbuktu: Revisionist Approaches

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 4-6 pm
Ousmane Oumar Kane (Harvard Divinity School), author of Beyond Timbuktu: An Intellectual History of Muslim West Africa (Harvard University Press, 2016)
Charles Stewart (emeritus, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), author of Arabic Literature of Africa volume V: The Writings of Mauritania and the Western Sahara (Brill Academic Publishers, 2016).
Discussant: Robert Launay (Northwestern University)


Sharia Politics in Contemporary Nigeria

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 4-6 pm

Sarah Eltantawi (Evergreen State College), author of Shariʻah on Trial: Northern Nigeria’s Islamic Revolution (University of California Press, 2017)

Brandon Kendhammer (Ohio University), author of Muslims Talking Politics: Framing Islam, Democracy and Law in Northern Nigeria (University of Chicago Press, 2016)

Discussant: Brannon Ingram (Northwestern University) 

Jihad and its Enemies: New Perspectives from West Africa

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 4-6 pm
Lamin Sanneh (Yale University and Yale Divinity School), author of Beyond Jihad: The Pacifist Tradition in West African Islam (Oxford University Press, 2016)
Alexander Thurston (Georgetown University), author of Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement (Princeton University Press, 2017)
Discussant: Sean Hanretta (Northwestern University)

Questions? Contact Rebecca Shereikis at or 847-491-2598.

ISITA Speaker Series

The following talks take place at the Program of African Studies, 620 Library Place, Evanston, IL.

How to Get Away with Blasphemy: The Politics of Religious Offense in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

 Zekeria Ahmed Salem, political science and ISITA director, Northwestern University

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 12-1:15 pm

The Taste of Prayer: Making Sense of Sufi Devotional Practice in Niger

Adeline Masquelier, anthropology, Tulane University

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 12-1:15 pm


Philosophical Sufism in the Sokoto Caliphate: The Case of Shaykh Dan Tafa

Oludamini Ogunnaike, religious studies, College of William and Mary

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 12-1:15 pm


Congo's Islamic Borderland

Ashley Leinweber, political science, Missouri State University
Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 12-1:15 pm