By Mamadou Diouf, Mara A. Leichtman
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Extra resources for New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal: Conversion, Migration, Wealth, Power, and Femininity
This process was not new. Quran schools were key sites in the production of Muslim identities long before French conquest, and as such they were grounds for important social and political struggles. Quran schooling has been the subject of much recent controversy in Senegal and beyond, but these recent developments can only begin to take their full meaning within a longer narrative beginning deep in the precolonial past. Th e S c h o o l in P rec oloni al S e ne ga mbi a: 1 000 to 18 50 Islam arrived in Senegambia at least a thousand years ago and, we might imagine, so did the Quran school.
Economic Change in Precolonial Africa, Senegambia in the Era of the Slave Trade. 2 vols. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1975. Deeb, Lara. An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi’i Lebanon. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006. Diouf, Mamadou. “The French Colonial Policy of Assimilation and the Civility of the Originaires of the Four Communes (Senegal): A Nineteenth Century Globalization Project,” edited by Birgit Meyer and Peter Geschiere, special issue, Development and Change 29, no.
Scholar-administrators developed a kind of marabout-myopia, which was often unwittingly assumed by later scholars, who ignored the mass of followers to pay attention to ostensibly more important leaders. For the colonialists, race played an important role in shaping this understanding. They perceived African political systems, such as they were, as essentially despotic in character. The blacks followed because they were followers. When William Ponty became governor-general in 1909, he instituted a policy of divide and rule along ethnic lines.