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Muslims and New Media in West Africa

Pathways to God

Dorothea E. Schulz

Publication Year: 2011

Although Islam is not new to West Africa, new patterns of domestic economies, the promise of political liberalization, and the proliferation of new media have led to increased scrutiny of Islam in the public sphere. Dorothea E. Schulz shows how new media have created religious communities that are far more publicly engaged than they were in the past. Muslims and New Media in West Africa expands ideas about religious life in West Africa, women's roles in religion, religion and popular culture, the meaning of religious experience in a charged environment, and how those who consume both religion and new media view their public and private selves.

Published by: Indiana University Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xv

“No, really, now you are losing it, Nanaaa.” My long-standing friend Solo, a journalist of considerable renown in his hometown, San, pronounced the second syllable of my local name with a disapproving sigh before he continued. “Why should you be interested in these conservative Muslim folks who shout...

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pp. xvii-xviii

Many people have contributed, directly or indirectly, to this book’s development. It could not have been written without the input, patience, support, and humor of many people I worked with in San, Segou, and Bamako, and with whom I often established long-lasting ties of trust and friendship. Foremost, I...

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pp. 1-23

In March 1999 I was granted an interview with the chairwoman (présidente) of the National Union of Muslim Women of Mali (Union Nationale des Femmes Musulmanes du Mali [UNAFEM]). The friend who introduced me, herself a member of the association’s steering committee, explained that...

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1. “Our Nation’s Authentic Traditions”: Law Reform and Controversies over the Common Good, 1999-2006

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pp. 24-46

IN MARCH 2000 Malian national radio announced in daily news broadcasts that a family law reform proposal, prepared by legal specialists and representatives of civil society, was to be publicly discussed so as to ensure popular participation and support. The projected reform of the codification of family...

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2. Times of Hardship: Gender Relations in a Changing Urban Economy

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pp. 47-72

FOR MORE THAN a decade geleya (literally, “heaviness,” “difficulty”) has been a recurrent trope in the daily conversations of urban middle-class and lower-middle- class families. Geleya refers to the emotional and material dimensions of the daily struggle to make a living; it also reflects many people’s realization that...

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3. Family Conflicts: Domestic Life Revisited by Media Practices

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pp. 73-97

When I lived in San in 1999, I found that passionate debates arose in my host family each night as soon as the evening’s television serial began. The family and visitors would excitedly gather around the television set to comment on the drama unfolding on the screen. On Friday nights and weekends the...

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4. Practicing Humanity: Social Institutions of Islamic Moral Renewal

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pp. 98-135

WALKING ON SUNDAY mornings in Bamako’s popular neighborhoods of Badialan, Hamdalayye, and Lafiabougou, nestled along the River Niger on the old side of town, visitors are hit by dissonant sensory impressions. The air is filled with the sounds of gourd drums, feet stamping the city’s red, dusty...

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5. Alasira, the Path to God

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pp. 136-172

“WE WILL ALL die one day, my daughter. What will you tell your Creator once you stand before Him? How will you justify your wrongdoings in life? How will you justify your disregard for God’s truth, for Him who found so many ways to show you the right path?” With these words, Hadja Bintou, the...

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6. “Proper Believers”: Mass-mediated Constructions of Moral Community

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pp. 173-195

TO GRASP THE different facets of Islam’s public prominence in Mali, we need to consider the activities, claims, and recent successes of Muslim activists in the context of worsening economic conditions, men’s and women’s assumption of different responsibilities, and widespread disillusion with unwarranted...

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7. Consuming Baraka, Debating Virtue: New Forms of Mass-mediated Religiosity

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pp. 196-227

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING three anecdotes, each conveying a distinct version of the social use of audio-recording technology in urban Mali. The three episodes, which show the close relationship between Muslims’ religious practices and their consumption of media products, illustrate that there...

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pp. 228-236

IN DECEMBER 2009 I returned to Mali after a three-year absence. Upon visiting members of the Muslim women’s group in Bamako-Missira whom I had contacted intermittently during my stay abroad, I had difficulty absorbing all the family news. Sons had left home, braving the dangers of crossing the Sahara...


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pp. 237-256


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pp. 257-290


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pp. 291-306

E-ISBN-13: 9780253005540
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253357151

Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2011