Northwestern Events Calendar


PAS L+L: S. Athuman Chembea - Interpreting Muslim-Christian Relations in the Light of Awqaf in Kenya since 1900

When: Wednesday, May 1, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM  

Where: 620 Library Place, room 106, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Program of African Studies   847.491.7323

Group: Program of African Studies

Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA)

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Interpreting Muslim-Christian Relations in the Light of Awqaf in Kenya since 1900

S. Athuman Chembea, Religion, Bomet University College, Kenya


This talk explores the ambiguous relations between Muslims and Christians in Kenya under the microcosm of awqaf (religious endowments). As a religious heritage, it was expected that awqaf would be practiced under the auspices of Islamic normative precepts rather than the secular statute and civil institution inherited from the colonial government. Through exploration of Muslims’ negotiation with the inherited legal antiquities on awqaf, I demonstrate that the relations between Muslims and the secular but predominantly Christian state on one hand, and Muslims and Christians as religious communities in Kenya on the other, are complex and almost impossible to pre-qualify. Amidst state control of awqaf, Muslims have relentlessly negotiated secular policies and civil institutions, both for individual and socio-ethnic group interests, hence pitting them against their Christian compatriots in the expression of religiosity while living awqaf as a social welfare practice.


Dr. Chembea is a lecturer of Religion at the Bomet University College, a constituent college of Moi University, Kenya. He holds a PhD in Islamic studies from the University of Bayreuth, Germany, and an M.A in Religion from Moi University. His research focuses on Awqaf as a social welfare institution by minority Muslims in a predominantly Christian society. More broadly, his research interests include Muslim-Christian relations, Religious extremism, Islamic charity, and Islam and politics. Apart from publishing several articles in peer reviewed journals and book chapters, he is currently working on a postdoc project on Religiosity among African Muslim Migrants in the Diaspora in the age of Islamism.


This event is cosponsored by the Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA).

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