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Guest Lecture of Prof. Robert Launay

20 June 2023, 6 p.m. (s.t.), GW II - H 27

Gastvortrag Prof. Robert Launay

We herewith kindly invite you to the guest lecture of Prof. Robert Launay of the Northwestern University:

"Genealogies of Black Islam: Racializing Religion“

A short summary:

Islam noir, Black Islam. This was how the colonial administration in early twentieth century French West Africa characterized Islam in the colony. Blackness and Islam were, in fundamental ways, understood as antithetical. The Blacker the Islam, the less Islamic, and vice versa. To understand the apparent paradox, we need to grasp the genesis and development European notions of “Islam” and “blackness” in terms of parallel, but hardly identical, genealogies of religion and race, beginning in late 16th century France. The colonial construct of Islam noir depicted Islam in Africa as a barely transformed form of “fetishism”, an Enlightenment term characterizing African religion as irredeemably irrational. Even early twentieth century figures from avant-garde artists to anthropologists who sought to portray Blackness in a favorable light continued to see Blackness and Islam as contradictory.

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