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Prof. Robert Launay: Genealogies of Black Islam

Jun 14, 2023 | 04:00 PM c.t.


Berlin Anthropology Seminars - Summer 2023
Wednesdays, 4-6 pm (c.t.), on-site and online

June 14
Prof. Robert Launay
Northwestern University

"Genealogies of Black Islam"

Islam noir, Black Islam. This was how the colonial administration in early twentieth century French West Africa characterized Islam in the colony. Blackness and Islam were, in fundamental ways, understood as antithetical. The Blacker the Islam, the less Islamic, and vice versa. To understand the apparent paradox, we need to grasp the genesis and development European notions of “Islam” and “blackness” in terms of parallel, but hardly identical, genealogies of religion and race, beginning in late 16th century France. The colonial construct of Islam noir depicted Islam in Africa as a barely transformed form of “fetishism”, an Enlightenment term characterizing African religion as irredeemably irrational. Even early twentieth century figures from avant-garde artists to anthropologists who sought to portray Blackness in a favorable light continued to see Blackness and Islam as contradictory.

Join us on-site in the FU Seminar Centre, Otto-von-Simson-Str. 26, 14195 Berlin, room L116.

Or online in our Webex room:
meeting ID: 2731 960 1442, password: BASsummer23

About the Berlin Anthropology Seminars

This seminar series constitutes a joint initiative by anthropologists from the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at FU Berlin, ZMO, and Ethnologisches Museum. It intends to shape and cultivate an inclusive platform and open regular meeting point for exchange and discussion on current research by Berlin-based anthropologists. Please spread the word among colleagues, junior or senior, who may be interested. For further questions contact m.oschwald@fu-berlin.de

Organizers: Paola Ivanov, Claudia Liebelt, and Kai Kresse.

Time & Location

Jun 14, 2023 | 04:00 PM c.t.