The Walking Qu’ran

October 31st, 2013 in Announcements, News from WARA

“Embodied Knowledge” the subject of this fall’s Rethinking Islam in West Africa talk

Thursday, October 10, 2013

In 2010, the West African Research Association (WARA) teamed up with the Boston University African Studies Center (ASC) to establish a new speaker series entitled “Rethinking Islam in West Africa: Legal, Political, and Artistic Perspectives.” Now approaching its fourth year, the series has welcomed a number of top scholars who have significantly broadened our understandings of the depth and range of Islamic practice across the region. Topics have included religious diversity in Sierra Leone, women’s roles in the promotion of education, the challenges presented by shari’a courts, the Muride arts of Senegal, youth engagement with Islam, the perception and threat of terrorism in the Islamic Sahel, Boko Haram, and the transatlantic transmission of models for piety and education.

We were pleased last week to welcome Rudolph ‘Butch’ Ware of the University of Michigan to talk about his forthcoming book, The Walking Qur’an: Islamic Education, Embodied Knowledge, and History in West Africa. Dr. Ware led us through the chapters and arguments of his book, focusing on Qur’anic schooling and what it can tell us about Islamic epistemology.  Emblematic of the West African Sufi traditions of education is the alluwah or wooden writing board.  The use of this board for learning to write Qur’anic verses is not nearly as prevalent in Islamic communities outside of Africa. Yet it continues an older tradition dating back to the early days of Islam, a tradition, argues Ware,  that is grounded in a theory of knowledge that is not only discursive but embodied.  Through memorization, practice, discipline, and even ‘drinking’ verses washed off the alluwah, one comes to hold sacred texts and knowledge in one’s very body.

While Ware noted that this tradition of embodied knowledge is often (though not always) at odds with educational approaches of Salafist movements that have arrived on the scene more recently, he underscored the profound tenacity, resilience, and adaptability of these older ways of knowing and being within Senegambia.

The Walking Qur’an

October 8th, 2013 in Announcements, News from WARA

“Embodied Knowledge” the subject of this fall’s Rethinking Islam in West Africa talk
Thursday, October 10, 2013

Butch

In 2010, the West African Research Association (WARA) teamed up with the Boston University African Studies Center (ASC) to establish a new speaker series entitled “Rethinking Islam in West Africa: Legal, Political, and Artistic Perspectives.” Now approaching its fourth year, the series has welcomed a number of top scholars who have significantly broadened our understandings of the depth and range of Islamic practice across the region. Topics have included religious diversity in Sierra Leone, women’s roles in the promotion of education, the challenges presented by shari’a courts, the Muride arts of Senegal, youth engagement with Islam, the perception and threat of terrorism in the Islamic Sahel, Boko Haram, and the transatlantic transmission of models for piety and education.

Butch Ware

We were pleased last week to welcome Rudolph ‘Butch’ Ware of the University of

Michigan to talk about his forthcoming book, The Walking Qur’an: Islamic Education, Embodied Knowledge, and History in West Africa. Dr. Ware led us through the chapters and arguments of his book, focusing on Qur’anic schooling and what it can tell us about Islamic epistemology.  Emblematic of the West African Sufi traditions of education is the alluwah or wooden writing board.  The use of this board for learning to write Qur’anic verses is not nearly as prevalent in Islamic communities outside of Africa. Yet it continues an older tradition dating back to the early days of Islam, a tradition, argues Ware,  that is grounded in a theory of knowledge that is not only discursive but embodied.  Through memorization, practice, discipline, and even ‘drinking’ verses washed off the alluwah, one comes to hold sacred texts and knowledge in one’s very body.

While Ware noted that this tradition of embodied knowledge is often (though not always) at odds with educational approaches of Salafist movements that have arrived on the scene more recently, he underscored the profound tenacity, resilience, and adaptability of these older ways of knowing and being within Senegambia.

 

 

 

 

 

National HBCU Conference Week

October 7th, 2013 in Announcements, News from WARA, Uncategorized

September 26-27, 2013

At the end of September, the White House Initiative on Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) hosted a two-day national conference commemorating National HBCU Week. The purpose of the conference was to highlight the significant contributions which HBCUs have made to the nation and to address the challenges they face going to forward.

Closing Luncheon speaker George E. Cooper, Executive Director, White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Closing Luncheon speaker George E. Cooper, Executive Director, White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

WARA was represented at this conference by Stephanie Guirand, who reached out to HBCUs with information about WARA’s programs and potential partnerships. WARA has a special relationship with HBCUs, our first home having been at Howard University, which remains a core member of WARA. More recently, other HBCUs such as Spelman and Morgan State have also become WARA members.  WARA’s aim is to promote African and diaspora studies in HBCUs through the many opportunities for research and overseas study available through the WARA network.

Ms. Guirand mingled with presidents and provosts of some of the nation’s top HBCUs to explain the benefits of WARA membership. A number of HBCUs are now interested in joining WARA to build and expand their African & Africana Studies programs. We look forward to welcoming them to the WARA family of institutions.