Academic journal article African Studies Quarterly

Laura L. Cochraine. 2013. Weaving through Islam in Senegal

Academic journal article African Studies Quarterly

Laura L. Cochraine. 2013. Weaving through Islam in Senegal

Article excerpt

Laura L. Cochraine. 2013. Weaving through Islam in Senegal. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press. xix, 147 pp.

Bye words like work is worship or work is virtue are known to all, and there have been many writings on work ethic or occupation and the role of religion or faith, unfolding how faith serves as a significant motivator to people while choosing or continuing their professions. Even today many Asian Muslims rear goats and take pride in this job due to the belief that Prophet Mohamad in his childhood had reared goats. Laura Cochrane's extensive ethnography of seventeen months based on her sociological study unfolds the similar notion and explains how faith inspires people's occupation while studying Senegalese society, particularly the Muslim communities known as Thie's and Ndem. In her jargonless and lucid paperback edition she crisply presents a Muslim setup in six brief chapters, highlighting different themes purely in a dissertation format like introducing the societies of Thie's and Ndem along with their social relationships and traditions. Further, she also narrates the belief systems of the two communities and then discusses religious pluralism in terms of Sufism in north and West Africa along with the historical continuities and indigenous faiths, etc. Cochrane also depicts how social history and religious personalities influence peoples' lives in Senegal and her finding can be representative of most of the traditional societies even today who sustain their legacies and art. She explores the weaving world of the communities in chapter three and summarizes shared and religious beliefs in chapter four. Chapter five contains her notes on community history along with weaving lineages, and in the final chapter she talks of weaving work as a focal point of peoples' beliefs and explores its economic realities that the people face while continuing this craft.

Cochrane's universe of the study is central Senegal, where she observes how weavers not just craft cotton but live their lives in the yarn of Sufism towards which they show tremendous reverence. …

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