HDS 3371

Religion and Political Violence in the Sahel

Ousmane Oumar Kane


Before 2010, suicide bombing was virtually unknown in the Sahel. Since then, the practice place has become common place. Nigeria alone has witnessed more suicide bombings than any other country in the world in 2012. From the Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahidin in Somalia through the Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb to the Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Sahel is now fully integrated into the world of global terror. In Somalia, the legitimate state authorities have been unable to establish control on their territory. In early 2012, a few transnational Islamic movements have occupied Northern Mali to proclaim an Islamic state and implement Islamic penal law, including bodily punishments. While the manifestations of political violence associated with the spread of al-Qaida ideology are new in the region, an old tradition of millenarian radicalism is well established in the Sahel. This lecture course will look at the history of religion and political violence in 19th and 20th Africa and explore two sets of themes. The first relates to Islamic reform and state building, and devote particular attention to the ways in which pre-colonial and colonial prophetic figures interpreted Islamic apocalyptical literature to mobilize individuals and resist against foreign and/or oppressive rule. The second part of the course will situate the rise of recent religiopolitical violence in the context of post colonial state building to explain why Islamic terror prosper mostly in failed states like Somalia, Mali and Nigeria. Priority in enrollments will be given to students of the Divinity School, the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and the Department of African and African American Studies.

Enrollment Limited: Limited to 30 students. Instructor's permission required.
Open to BTI Students: Yes


0.50 credits
Expected to be offered Fall 2014
Course times to be announced.
Course location to be announced.

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
  • Public Leadership, Community Organizing, and Planning
Language Course Designation(s) None