Week 9 Islam in Africa Notes
Week 9 Islam in Africa Notes RELA 3900/ RELI3900
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Raleigh Zook on Monday April 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to RELA 3900/ RELI3900 at University of Virginia taught by Cynthia Hoehler-Fatton in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see Islam in Africa in Religious Studies at University of Virginia.
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Date Created: 04/04/16
Colonialism in Africa I. Partition 1885: Berlin Conference • Official partition of Africa by European powers into colonies • All, but Switzerland were involved (neutral) • Britain was the strongest militarily and technologically, so they claimed the most valuable African countries, like Nigeria • France à Most of West Africa (e.g. Senegal, the Maghreb) • Ethiopia: Independent until 1930s with Italy for a decade After WWI (1914-1918) and prior to WWII (1939-1945) • Repossession/Shifting Causes of Colonialism 1) Political and economic reasons a. Imperialism for new markets and raw materials 2) Loss of political autonomy a. Destabilization of Islamic African countries left them vulnerable 3) Superiority of firepower and technology 4) Berlin Conference à To squelch all resistance Colonialism Impact • Indirect rule (e.g. through emirs) –Political o Overseas extension of metropolitan state o Co-optation o Robbed of autonomy and self-determination o Sub-imperialism; Divide and rule strategy • Economic o Changed pre-colonial economiesà Had begun before colonialism due to trade o Pattern of extraction o No interest in laying foundation of a modern state; Did not invest in infrastructure or in self-sustaining infrastructures—only for personal gains o Stop growing nutritious foods and grow cash crops (e.g. coffee, cotton, tea, etc.), which hurt African societies § Local economies were transformed o Destroyed pastoralist economy; Hunter/gatherer nomadic groups were disrupted due to colonialism curtailing the movement of people o Imported European goods competed with local industries • Social Relations o Europeans did not want warriors and caste systems protecting/enforcing, so they rendered them o Gerontocracies: The elders ruled—controlled access to resources, more knowledgeable § Elders were now at the bottom and the youth superseded them in the new colonial system § Literacy became critical o Gender dynamics § Woman saw a decline in income and property rights; Sidelined § Programs and policies concentrated on males § Product of the Victorian mindset o Religion § Opened the door for missionaries • British = Protestant • Catholic = Catholic § “Boosted” Christianity § Christianity was linked to commercial industry and civilization Racial and Cultural Superiority • Justified conquest due to evolutionary ideals • Fanon o Native = Inferior beings and have an absence of values • African people à Simpleton, satanic, barbaric o “Light to the Dark Continent” o Fetishes / Idols II. Colonial Attitudes Said’s Orientalism • Revealed biases and stereotypes toward Islam and the “Orient” • “Essentialism” o Gloss / Stereotypical picture o Essence of Islam • Produced very fixed ideas about what Islam truly was Stereotype • Essentially “enslavers” à Violent Decadence • How Sufi brotherhoods were portrayed o Tricksters; Frauds; Manipulative; Menacing; Corrupt o Obscure; Cult-like; Depicted as ghouls “Islam Noir” termed by colonizers • Black Islam • There is a special kind of Islam that emerged that is benign • Integrated enough local custom that it could be manipulated / controlled by colonizers • Separate it / prevent it from aligning with Mediterranean and Arabian Islam o Prevent Pan-Islamism Crusades (The ideas formed during this) • Pester (Priest) John who would help colonizers fight Muslims • Westerners needed to ally themselves with African Christians • Not all colonizers shared this negative stance toward Muslims o Some preferred to work with Muslims • “Muhammadanism” o Gives natives polygamy o More suited for Africans o Christian missions = Contentious; Unreliable • Increased fear (Extremism / Radicalism) o Mahdist revolt in Eastern Sudan (1880s) § Successful § Muhammad Ahmal al-Mahdi proclaimed himself the Mahdi to overthrow Turko-Egyptian campaign, which was backed by the British § Battle of Khartoum (1885) § Theocratic state put into place (Islam) until 1898 § Muslim state right after Berlin Conference = Scary! • Fear of Pan-Africanism o In opposition of colonialism; Concern of linkages o 1926: This fear had subsided and Bolshevism/communism became the predominate fear • Some still exist today (e.g. al-Queda, ISIS, etc.)
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