The Heritage of Islam: Women, Religion, and Politics in West Africa

The Heritage of Islam: Women, Religion, and Politics in West Africa

The Heritage of Islam: Women, Religion, and Politics in West Africa

The Heritage of Islam: Women, Religion, and Politics in West Africa

Synopsis

The authors explore the impact of Islam on the lives of West African women, particularly those in Nigeria and Senegal. Focusing on whether or not Islam acts as a barrier to women in the process of social change and development, they address a series of important questions. Is the pattern of training and education different for Muslim and non-Muslim girls? What is the domestic life of a Muslim woman like? How do Muslim women fare in the economy, both in the labour force and in the informal sector? Do Muslim women act as a poltical group, and are they involved in politics in ways different from the political participation of other West African women? In short, how is a Muslim woman's life different from that of her animist or Christian counterpart?

Excerpt

Africa has been the center of our academic lives for all the years since our first visit in 1960. In the course of preparing this book we drew on the resources of many people from whom we have acquired advice, information, and encouragement. We apologize to those we cannot directly acknowledge here, but we do express our gratitude directly to the following people.

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C. S. Whitaker and Richard L. Sklar, two pioneering scholars of Nigerian politics, have long provided inspiration, guidance, and assistance to me [Barbara Callaway]; their studies endure as seminal contributions to understanding the early dynamics of political forces in that country. As a committed scholar of the Nigerian state, Jean Herskovits has no peer; she has been unfailingly helpful and encouraging over the years as working in Nigeria has become more difficult, and she has been a thoughtful critic of my work. For his intense commitment, his enormous energy while in the field, his prodigious work in writing and editing manuscripts and organizing conferences both in the United States and Nigeria, and his unfailing and wholehearted support for the work of others, Larry Diamond deserves special thanks and acknowledgment.John Paden and Mary Smith wrote enormously sensitive and pathbreaking books in 1960, books that have stood the test of time and still provide the models for scholarship and field work in northern Nigeria.

Enid Schildkrout and Priscilla Starratt, who were in Kano during the 1980s, have made particularly important contributions to my own research. Enid Schildkrout's books on women and children have provided the foundation for all my work, and Priscilla Starratt's conscientious study of women scholars in Islam has greatly informed my understanding. I also owe a deep intellectual debt to a remarkable group of women who have focused their considerable talent on the study of the changing status of . . .

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