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This volume comprehensively examines all texts dealing with social justice in the Prophecy of Amos. It also provides evidence of contemporary systemic social injustice. The volume then reflects on how biblical social justice is relevant to the contemporary quest for social justice. This volume demonstrates that irrespective of the hermeneutical challenges, the principles gleaned from the pages of the Hebrew Bible can dialogue effectively with modern issues and deduce living principles that could enable us to deal with issues that confront us today. It is thus a framework by which biblical social justice illuminates the contemporary quest for social justice.
Visa Balladur, Kwassa Kwassa, (im)mobilité et géopoét(h)ique relationnelle aux Comores
« Entré en tant que cousin, sorti en tant que gendarme ». Cette anecdote révèle le paradoxe identitaire aux Comores et le drame ‘migratoire’ qui se déroule dans l’Archipel depuis l’instauration arbitraire du Visa Balladur en 1995. L’île de Mayotte, officiellement française, est taxée de « plus grand cimetière marin du monde. » Comment des œuvres d’imagination sur la « migration » d’Anjouan vers Mayotte peuvent-elles constituer une thérapie collective et une intervention sociale ? Cet ouvrage répond entre autres à cette question en analysant 18 textes et en associant études littéraires, anthropologie, sociologie, histoire et droit international.

« He came as a cousin and left as a gendarme. » This anecdote expresses the identity paradox in the Comoros and the ‘migration’ drama that has been happening in the Archipelago since the arbitrary introduction of the Balladur Visa in 1995. Mayotte that is ‘officially’ French has been labelled “the biggest marine graveyard in the world”. How can works of imagination on “migration” from Anjouan to Mayotte constitute a kind of collective social therapy and social intervention? This book answers this question (among others) by studying 18 works, and combining literary studies with anthropology, sociology, history and international law.
Contributions to the Study of Africa and Its Diasporas
The overarching aim of the Africa Multiple book series is to advance the study of Africa and its diasporas through publishing multidisciplinary research. The peer-reviewed series is designed to overcome existing power imbalances in the production and transmission of knowledge in African Studies. Encouraging critical reflections on area studies, the series seeks to set new standards for collaborative research in the field, informed by an understanding of Africa as multiple that emphasizes relationality and reflexivity as its main conceptual approaches. These approaches take center stage in the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, which was established in early 2019 with the aim of reconfiguring African Studies in both structural and theoretical terms. It is conceived as a transcontinental network comprising five locations: apart from Bayreuth, these are the African Cluster Centers at Moi University (Eldoret, Kenya), Rhodes University (Makhanda, South Africa), the University of Lagos (Nigeria), and Joseph Ki- Zerbo University (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso).

The series invites contributions from diverse fields and disciplines, ranging from social sciences, cultural studies and humanities to law, geography and beyond. As part of the programmatic objective of reconfiguring African Studies, we include publications in English as well as other academic languages (such as French, German, Kiswahili, Arabic, and Portuguese).

If you are working on a book that would be suitable for this series, please do not hesitate to contact BRILL Editor Franca de Kort (
The Afrika-Studiecentrum Series aims to present the best of African studies in the field of social sciences in the Netherlands. Publication in the series is open to all Dutch africanists and also to African scholars who are affiliated to a Dutch academic institution. Publications can be either monographs or edited volumes, in various disciplines and across all African nations, either on a single country or comparing different countries.

Brill’s Islam in Africa is designed to present the results of scholarly research into the many aspects of the history and present-day features of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The series will take up issues of religious and intellectual traditions, social significance and organization, and other aspects of the Islamic presence in Africa. It includes monographs, collaborative volumes and reference works by researchers from all relevant disciplines.


John Hunwick (1936-2015)

Professor John Owen Hunwick, a leading scholarly authority on the history of Islam in West Africa, passed away on 1 April 2015, after a lengthy illness.

Born in 1936 in Somerset, England, John Hunwick came into contact with Africa as a conscript soldier in British Somaliland from 1955. Back in Britain, he studied Arabic and Islamic history at the School of Oriental and African Studies, graduating in Arabic in 1959. He then went to Ibadan in Nigeria to teach Arabic and the University College there. After several years in Nigeria, he became Associate Professor of History at the University of Ghana, before finally coming to Northwestern University in Evanston, USA (from 1991), where he taught African history and Islamic studies until his retirement in 2004.

Professor Hunwick was an authority of a wide variety of topics and periods of the history of Islam in Africa, in particular in the medieval and early modern periods. He will perhaps be most remembered for his relentless efforts to show that Africa’s past was replete with written sources, and not just the “oral history” that earlier generations of historians assumed. He worked both to collect manuscripts but not least to catalogue and disseminate knowledge about them. In Timbuktu, which came to be at the centre of his attention from the mid-1990s onwards, he will in particular be remembered as the instigator for the UNESCO-initiated Centre de Documentation et de Recherches Ahmed Baba. The centre, now Institute for Studies and Research (IHERI), is a repository of locally produced Arabic manuscripts of a wide variety of topics. Hunwick committed himself to disseminating knowledge of the rich literary heritage in Arabic from Africa, not least through the multi-volume bio-biographical dictionary Arabic Literature of Africa (Leiden: Brill from 1990, edited together with R.S. O’Fahey). He also initiated several journals for this purpose, from Research Bulletin of the Centre of Arabic Documentation in his Ibadan period, through the Fontes Historiae Africanae bulletin, to Sudanic Africa: A Journal of Historical Sources, where he published a large number of documents and biographical studies on important Muslim scholars.

Professor Hunwick published several monographs, the most important being a study of the sixteenth-century Moroccan scholar al-Maghili’s influence on Songhay and Hausaland, Shari’a in Songhay (his Ph.D. Oxford University Press 1985), and a commented translation of al-Saʿdī’s Taʾrīkh al-sūdān: Timbuktu and the Songhay Empire (Brill 1999). However, already from the early 1960s he produced a series of important articles that set the pattern for the study of Islam in West Africa from the medieval to the modern, including an important discussion on the early history of Gao in the Almoravid period, on Islamic law in Songhay, and on issues pertaining to Sufism and slavery. He emphasized the importance of Africa’s contacts across the Sahara, and coined the phrase that “Arabic is the Latin of Africa.” In 2005, the African Studies Association recognized his extraordinary achievements by endowing him with the Distinguished Africanist Award.

Professor Hunwick’s lasting contribution to the study of Islam and Africa includes the establishment of the first academic centre exclusively devoted to the Islamic intellectual tradition in Africa: the Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA), founded in 1999 under the umbrella of Northwestern University’s Program of African Studies (PAS). He was able to attract significant grants for ISITA and built an impressive scholarly network around its activities. Always fond of puns, Hunwick used to say, “IS IT A good program? Yes, it is!” Indeed, the role of ISITA in promoting the study of Islam in Africa cannot be overestimated. For Brill Academic Publishers, Hunwick will—in addition to his publications mentioned above—be noted as the founder of the book series Islam in Africa (ISAF).

Professor Hunwick was an generous, welcoming and compassionate scholar, who made all effort to support scholars working in West African Islamic history, and in particular his many students, from Africa and elsewhere. He was for many of us the ultimate authority on any question relating to the use of Arabic in Africa, to issues of Shari’a in the African Maliki tradition, and to scholarliness in general. A veritable pioneer and trailblazer has left us, and those who used to stand on the shoulders of this giant will miss him dearly.

Professor Knut S. Vikør, University of Bergen, Norway
Professor Rüdiger Seesemann, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Black Material Culture and the Development of a Consumer Society in South Africa, 1800-2020
Since the early nineteenth century, the things which Black South Africans have had in their homes have changed completely. They have adopted things like tables, chairs, knives, forks, spoons, plates, cups and saucers, iron pots, beds, blankets, European clothing, and later electronic apparatus. Thus they claimed modernity, respectability and political inclusion. This book is the first systematic analysis of this development. It argues that the desire to possess such goods formed a major part of the drive behind the anti-apartheid struggle, and that the demand to consume has significantly influenced both the economy and the politics of the country.
Entangled Geographies of Contention in Africa
Volume Editors: and
Is violent conflict in Africa urbanizing? How do urban protests and civil war intersect? How do narratives, mechanisms and identities of contention move between urban and rural arenas? These questions constitute the basis of investigation and analysis of this unique cross-disciplinary volume. Applying diverging perspectives and methods from political science, anthropology and urban African studies, the book carefully constructs the relational and entangled nature of contemporary forms of contentious politics in Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia.


How do urban environments shape the occurrence of wartime civilian protest? Wartime civilian protest in this chapter refers to instances of public, collective, and predominantly nonviolent action by which noncombatants make claims on a conflict party within the context of armed conflict. Building on a unique georeferenced database of protest events in rebel-held Côte d’Ivoire, as well as insights from eight months of field research and relevant secondary sources, this chapter interrogates the occurrence and dynamics of wartime civilian protest. Starting from the observation that civilian protest was predominantly an urban phenomenon, I argue that protest was a function of a broader process of competitive state-building between the government and the rebels. Competitive state-building in rebel-held cities in turn prompted civilian protest by generating both opportunities for the rebels to organize anti-government protests, and opportunities and incentives for civilians to challenge wartime governance through collective action. The chapter contributes new knowledge on how urban environments shape processes of competitive state-building in civil war, the urban dynamics of wartime civilian agency, and to our understanding of how armed insurrection in the bushes can trigger civilian protests in the street.

In: Rebellious Riots


For the first time in history, the bulk of the African population are both young and living in cities, making this an auspicious time to be thinking about youth, protest, and the city. What does protest mean to youth and their futures and how does it unfold in an urban space deeply affected by war?

This chapter sheds light on the violent and non-violent forms of protest adopted by the youth in Goma, the capital of the war-torn North Kivu province in Eastern DR Congo. Specifically, we analyse two protests that emerged due to Goma’s rapid urbanization (Goma veut de l’eau) and the surrounding armed conflict (Kabila doit partir). These case studies demonstrate the complexity of contentious politics in the Eastern DRC and argue that protest is the very site where politics is played out and where youth imagine alternative political futures and new representational politics for their city and their country. Protest is thus a space wherein new possibilities can emerge and give meaning to young protesters. By focusing on both, young activists in the civic movement la Lucha and ‘ordinary’ youth from the urban fringes, we complicate simplistic notions of youth being stuck in ‘waithood’ but actively making their claims and ideas about alternative futures heard through protest.

In: Rebellious Riots
Authors: and


Are urban protests on the rise in Africa? Is civil war a rural phenomenon in retreat? How has the composition and geography of armed conflict and protest evolved over the last two decades? In this chapter we answer these questions through a quantitative summary of the key patterns and trends in protests, riots, and armed conflict across the continent. We leverage data from two of the most widely used datasets in contemporary conflict studies: the Uppsala Conflict Data Programme Georeferenced Event Dataset and the Armed Conflict Location and Event dataset. We link this to nuanced geospatial data on human settlement patterns from the EU Global Human Settlement Layer Settlement Model, allowing is to distinguish between events located in urban centres, urban clusters, and rural areas. Our findings show that armed conflict and protest are increasingly urban phenomenon in North Africa. Similarly, the frequency of urban protest in sub-Saharan Africa has increased substantially. However, conventional armed conflicts involving state and non-state actors in rural areas remain common and have risen over the same period, albeit concentrated in a handful of subregions. Our study frames ongoing debates surrounding the frequency and character of violent and non-violent political contests on the African continent.

In: Rebellious Riots