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REFLECTIONS ON MUSLIM–CHRISTIAN ENCOUNTERS IN WEST AFRICA

  • Benjamin Soares
Abstract

Among historians, social scientists and scholars of religion there has been increased recognition of the importance of studying Islam and Christianity in Africa not separately but rather together as lived religions in dynamic interaction over time. In this article, I trace how scholars have arrived at such a point and consider some of the challenges of conducting research on religious encounters, and particularly those associated with studying Islam and Christianity, Muslims and Christians together. I frame this discussion in terms of some of the theoretical and methodological issues at stake in advancing the study of religious encounters in Africa and draw from my own research and the work of others on the topic, particularly in West Africa, to reflect upon how this important field of inquiry has developed and what it has accomplished.

On assiste à une prise de conscience croissante, parmi les historiens, les spécialistes des sciences sociales et les théologiens, de l'importance d’étudier l'islam et la chrétienté en Afrique non pas séparément mais conjointement, en tant que religions vécues en interaction dynamique au fil du temps. Dans cet article, l'auteur retrace le chemin parcouru par les chercheurs pour arriver à ce point de réflexion, et examine certaines difficultés à étudier la rencontre des religions et notamment celle de l'islam et de la chrétienté, et des musulmans et des chrétiens. L'auteur structure cette discussion autour de certains enjeux théoriques et méthodologiques de l'avancement de l’étude de la rencontre des religions en Afrique et s'appuie sur ses propres travaux et sur ceux d'autres chercheurs sur ce sujet, notamment en Afrique de l'Ouest, pour réfléchir sur l’évolution de cet important domaine d'investigation et sur ses accomplissements.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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