Between Learning and Piety

Leonardo A. Villalón & Mamadou Bodian (Eds)

Foreword by Benjamin Soares

Linking together new studies based on original research, Between Learning and Piety brings us up to date on the evolution of Islam and Christianity among university students in the countries of the Sahel. It reveals the cleavages and conflicts between groups, and analyzes their oral, written and sartorial markers of identity and modes of performance. The book thus provides powerful insights into the influence of religion on this emerging elite, and examines the two questions fuelling religious activism in universities: the significance of claiming a Muslim or a Christian identity, and the ways in which modernity both shapes and is formed by the two religions. This book is essential reading if we are to understand the changing nature of the terrible crises that have led the Sahel region to turn on itself. – Mamadou Diouf, Leitner Family Professor of African Studies, Columbia University, USA.

Often neglected or poorly understood by foreign analysts, Sahelian universities are sites of intense debates on national identity, and of important negotiations around religiosity and ethnicity. This collection brings together the work of eminent specialists from the region to provide a rich and comparative perspective, drawn from their collaborative efforts and rooted in their original research in the field. The book will be essential reading for all researchers, analysts, and policy makers who focus on the Sahel. These contributions will greatly assist in understanding the experiences and the priorities of a generation of young activists and leaders who will mark the region for many years to come. – Alex Thurston, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Cincinnati, USA.

Author Details

Leonardo A. Villalón is Professor of African Politics and Dean of the International Center at the University of Florida in the United States, where he also coordinates the Sahel Research Group. He has published extensively on Islam and socio-political dynamics in the Sahel, and is the editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of the African Sahel (OUP 2021).

Mamadou Bodian holds a Ph.D. from the University of Florida, USA. His research focuses on security, electoral systems, as well as religion and educational reform in the French-speaking countries of the Sahel. He is currently a researcher for the Sahel/West Africa programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in Sweden.


Mamadou Ballo, Mamadou Bodian, Mamadou Lamine Dembélé, Ladiba Gondeu, Koudbi Désiré Kaboré, Abakar Walar Modou, Elemine Ould Mohamed Baba Moustapha, Benjamin Soares, Magloire Somé, Abdoulaye Sounaye, Leonardo A. Villalón.

ISBNs: 9782359260908 PB, 9782359260915 Ebook

Extent: 224pp, 234 mm x 156 mm

Price: $35 • £30 • €35 • CFA15000

Release Date: February 2024

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