Religion and Order in Africa
All over the world, in recent years, there has been a resurgence of religion in the public sphere. In many sub-Saharan African countries this has manifested itself on the one hand in mushrooming of charismatic Christian churches and on the other hand in claims by Muslims for increased recognition of Islamic religious symbols within political and civil spaces hitherto dominated by “Western” systems. Unfortunately, the quality of our understanding of these important developments, and of where they are leading, is highly unsatisfactory. Although there is some research on these important religious phenomena in sub-Saharan Africa, its coverage is patchy, it tends to be mono-disciplinary, it is often uninformed by history, it is rarely comparative as between countries, and – a serious problem from African points of view – it is mostly done by foreigners whose approach and perspective is different from African Muslims, and also from African Christians.
The international and multidisciplinary Summer Academy “Religion and Order in Africa” offers a group of ten African Students to participate in a structured programme at Bayreuth University. It highlights one of the outstanding teaching and research focuses at the University of Bayreuth: African studies. Besides a series of lectures developed specifically for these students, the University of Bayreuth also gives the participants the opportunity to spend four weeks studying with other students in the university’s regular courses.
The Summer Academy encourages an intensive exchange of ideas between the guests, their fellow students in Bayreuth, and external academics and researchers, thereby specifically promoting and advancing research on Africa.
The cultural programme includes sightseeing in Bayreuth itself, as well as excursions to the World Cultural Heritage of Bamberg, and to Munich and Berlin. Ten students from eight countries of Africa have been able to take part in the four-week programme for the first time in 2008. With its multidisciplinary approach, the Summer Academy is open to students of all arts and humanities subjects.
By Franz Kogelmann