Winner of the 2016
Conover-Porter Award. The prize is awarded by the African Studies Association (ASA) to Outstanding Africa-related reference works, bibliographies or bibliographic essays published in any country, separately or as part of a larger work.
The Writings of Mauritania and the Western Sahara compiles 300 years of literary production, in excess of 10,000 titles by over 1800 authors,who document a vibrant Islamic culture and educational system in a Bedouin society lacking any overarching state. This contradicts our received wisdom about the nature of high Islamic scholarship, and it offers insights into complicated relationships between the authority of the Word and quotidian life in nomadic society. Biographical profiles of the writers and analyses of significant works tell a story of the organic growth of a Saharan scholarly tradition, linked but largely independent of the heartlands, original in its
Hassaniyya verse and extensive legal literature, deeply rooted in its Islamic culture.
Early Ibāḍī Theology presents the critical edition of six Arabic theological texts recently discovered in two manuscripts in Mzāb in Algeria dating from the middle of the 8th century. The texts were sent by their author, the prominent Kūfan Ibāḍī
kalām theologian ‘Abd Allāh b. Yazīd al-Fazārī to North Africa where he had a large following in the Ibāḍī community later known as the Nukkār. They constitute the earliest extant body of Muslim
kalām theology and are vital for the study of the initial development of rational theology in Islam. The sophisticated treatment of the divine attributes in these texts indicates that this subject developed considerably earlier in Islamic theology than previously accepted in modern scholarship.