The Chair of Anthropology cordially invites you a lecture by Robert Launay on
‘Writing boards and blackboards: Islamic education in Africa’
27.6.2018, 18:00-20:00, S 5 GW II
Robert Launay is an anthropologist at Northwestern University, Chicago/Evanston, Illinois, USA. He has conducted extensive field research in West Africa. Among his books are Traders without Trade (1982), Beyond the Stream: Islam and Society in a West African Town (19992), which won the Amaury Talbot Prize for best African ethnography in England in 1992, and a recently edited volume Islamic Education in Africa: Writing Boards and Blackboards (Indiana University Press, 2016).
Writing boards and blackboards are emblematic of two radically different styles of education in Islam, including changes in epistemic styles and pedagogical methods - from sitting to standing, from individual to collective learning, from recitation to analysis. Writing boards typify the classical system of Qur’anic education. Blackboards, which marked the expansion of mass education in Europe and the United States, in Muslim Africa came to embody colonial educational institutions. More recently, Muslim reformers have also adopted blackboards in attempts to modernize Islamic education. Writing boards and blackboards do not only symbolize different systems of education, but literally embody them, calling for different postures, different attitudes, different behaviors, inscribing different disciplinary projects on the bodies of pupils and different epistemic regimes.