Religious Identity Politics in Africa: New Perspectives

Convener: Dr. Nathan P. Devir (University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA);

In the past decade, much scholarly work has been done on religion in the “Global South,” in particular with regard to the spread of Christian movements. However, much academic research has neglected to look at other emerging religious movements that are interdependently connected with local and transnational politics, such as neo-Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, mystic, and resurging traditionalist/animist movements. The popularity of these movements has demonstrated the deep link between national and religious identity in many postcolonial African national discourse. The panel which I propose, “Religious Identity Politics in Africa: New Perspectives,” will bring together scholars of African religion and politics in an attempt to document and analyze emergent religious movements that – by discursive, legal, or unconscious means – have become synonymous with the tentative for political change or national volition. It will also welcome papers that trace the diasporic connections and motives of the so-called “major religions” in their encounter with local African mores and praxis.