The Transmission of Learning in Islamic Africa


Editor: Scott Reese
In a series of essays this collected volume challenges much of the conventional wisdom regarding the intellectual history of Muslim Africa. Ranging from the libraries of Early Modern Mauritania and Timbuktu to mosque lectures in contemporary Mombasa the contributors to this collection overturn many commonly accepted assumptions about Africa's Muslim learned classes. Rather than isolated, backward and out of touch, the essays in this volume reveal Muslim intellectuals as not only well aware of the intellectual currents of the wider Islamic world but also caring deeply about the issues facing their communities.

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Scott S. Reese, Ph.D. (1996) in History, University of Pennsylvania, is Assistant Professor of History at Northern Arizona University.
'Generally speaking, this volume has succeeded in correcting many of the unsavoury stereotypes exposited in Western scholarship about Africa south of the Maghreb and has convincingly demonstrated that African Muslim authors are no less encyclopaedic and productive as their models from mainland Islam.' [Its] significance[...]lies not only in its analytical and methodical treatment of the subjects discussed, but also in its remarkable coverage of the East, West and North Africa.'. Amidu Olalekan Sanni, Journal of Oriental and African Studies 2008
Preface—John O. Hunwick Introduction: Islam in Africa: Challenging the Perceived Wisdom, Scott S. Reese Chapter One: Sufi Networks and the Social Contexts for Scholarship in Morocco and the Northern Sahara, 1660–1830, David Gutelius Chapter Two: Inkwells of the Sahara: Reflections on the Production of Islamic Knowledge in Bilàd Shinqì†, Ghislaine Lydon Chapter Three: The Shurafà’ and the ‘Blacksmith’: The Role of the Idaw ‘Ali of Mauritania in the Career of the Senegalese Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse (1900–75), Rüdiger Seesemann Chapter Four: Mass Islamic Education and Emergence of Female ‘ulama’ in Northern Nigeria: Background, Trends, and Consequences, Muhammad S. Umar Chapter Five: Murta∂a al-Zabidi (1732–91) and the Africans: Islamic Discourse and Scholarly Networks in the Late Eighteenth Century , Stefan Reichmuth Chapter Six: Goths in the Land of the Blacks: A Preliminary Survey of the Ka’ti Library in Timbuktu, Albrecht Hofheinz Chapter Seven: From Wadi Mizab to Unguja: Zanzibar’s Scholarly Links, Philip Sadgrove Chapter Eight: “Making people think”: The Ramadan Lectures of Sheikh Abdilahi Nassir in Mombasa (1419 A.H.), Kai Kresse Chapter Nine: The Adventures of Abu Oarith: Muslim Travel Writing and Navigating the Modern in Colonial East Africa, Scott S. Reese Chapter Ten: Zanzibar: Some Nineteenth-Century Arabic Writings on Healing, Lorenzo Declich Chapter Eleven: “Small World”: Neo-Sufi Interconnexions Between the Maghrib, the Hijaz and Southeast Asia, R.S. O’Fahey Notes on Contributors Index
All those interested in the history of Africa, Islamic studies or intellectual history.