HDS 3369

Readings in the Islamic Archive of Africa

Ousmane Oumar Kane


The majority of Arabs live in Africa, and Arabic is by far the most spoken Africa language. Yet in the academic division of labor, North Africa has been excised from the rest of Africa on the assumption that the Sahara has historically been a barrier separating Arabs from other Africans. Prior to the rise of Western hegemony, North African Arabs have maintained close ties with Saharan and Sub-Saharan Africans through religion, trade, war and diplomacy. This long history is documented by an abundant archive in Arabic language or African language in the Arabic script. Drawing from theories of knowledge and primary sources in Arabic, this seminar introduces participants to a critical study of Islamic intellectual history in Africa. It addresses critically notions like knowledge, higher learning, history, book, author, archive, orality, audiences, memory, discursive space, library, that require an adequate contextualizing to read authors of past centuries and use their writing for the study of social and intellectual history. Participants will examine how knowledge was produced, reproduced and transmitted in Muslim societies of Africa. Reading proficiency in Arabic is a requirement for this course.

Enrollment Limited: Limited to 18 students. Instructor's permission required.
Open to BTI Students: Yes
Jointly offered as Islamic Civilizations 177

Course website


0.50 credits
Spring 2014
Fri 2pm-4pm
Rockefeller Hall Room 117

Relationship to Program Requirements

Program Requirement Area / Category / Art / Designation
MTS Area(s) of Focus
  • Islamic Studies
  • Religion, Literature, and Culture
  • Religion and the Social Sciences
MDiv Distribution Category/ies
  • Islam
MDiv Art(s) of Ministry
  • Preaching and Worship
  • Religious Education and Spiritual Development
Language Course Designation(s) None