Listen, the Time is Coming, Fill Your Ears with the Sunna! Youth listening to sermon in Niamey, Niger (112th KUASS: Kyoto University African Studies Seminar)


16:00-18:00 (JST)

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This lecture will discuss the way in which listening to sermons is perceived not only as a learning experience (kara ilimi in Hausa) but also as an aesthetic moment. It will focus on the lived experiences of young Muslims who engage in the popularization of the Sunna (tradition of the Prophet Muhammad), an act many equate to a religious obligation. The lecture will analyze how in a salafi context, youth mobilize listening and hearing as instances of religious experience. An aesthetic may not be viewed as epistemic, but in this case, young Muslims clearly make a connection between the cognitive and the bodily experiences as they seek to make the self available to the Sunna. How knowledge is lived and could be theorized in this context is a question that will be central to this discussion. The speaker will argue that in order to understand current appropriations of Salafism in West Africa, we need to go beyond its dismissing of the body and claims of rationality, and pay attention to the ways in which Salafi practices reintroduce other aesthetic modes. In that sense, Salafi epistemology produces its own aesthetic as it relies on the body and the beauty of the sermon, but also on the listening moment. The presentation will be based on materials the speaker collected in Niger during a series of field studies he conducted among young Salafi, mainly in Niamey, a city where Salafism has been instrumental in reforming Muslim aesthetic sensibilities, intellectual practices, and epistemic horizons.

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  • Yoshida Campus
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  • Onsite: Small Conference Room II, Inamori Center (Inamori Foundation Memorial Hall) 3F, Kyoto University (京都大学稲盛財団記念館3階小会議室Ⅱ)
    Building 64 on the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences Campus Map
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Free of charge



Professor Abdoulaye Sounaye, senior research fellow and head of the research unit 'Contested Religion', Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), Berlin, Germany





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