2022, #3 - Religions in a changing Africa: traditions, interaction, transformations

We announce the special issue (No. 3, 2022), dedicated to the role of religions in African history.

For the last two millennia, Africa was a zone of penetration of Christian and Muslim cultures. However, neither Islam nor Christianity did not fill an empty niche in Africa’s cultural space but rather clashed with traditional African religions and belief systems, which, being fragmented, could not effectively resist stronger competitors. During the colonization, the disintegration of traditional social structures expanded the possibilities for spread of the two world religions but both had to adapt to local conditions, to existing attitudes and social patterns. As a result, a special form of African religiosity has emerged which was characterized by a syncretic interweaving of traditional religious practices and beliefs with Christian and Muslim ones.

African Christianity and African Islam, as distinct historical phenomena, had a significant impact on the political and cultural evolution of the Dark continent during the colonial and post-colonial periods, and both religious ideas and religious institutions were involved in this process, even in the states where atheistic policies were pursued. Religion has often been used as a political and ideological tool to allow African elites to maintain and strengthen their power, especially in the many social and political conflicts that have engulfed much of the continent in the post-Cold War era.

A special issue of the journal aims to rethink the role of religions in the history of Afreica, the forms of their interaction and evolution in the light of new sources, many of which have not been extensively used by scholars, and the newest research. The following list of topics provides some options those willing to make contributions to this issue:

  • Ways of expansion of Christianity and Islam on the African continent;
  • Interaction and conflict between Christianity, Islam and traditional African religions and belief systems;
  • Christianity and African societies in the colonial period;
  • The role of religions in Africa in the decolonization era;
  • The reimagining of the social and political changes in religious terms;
  • Islam and Christianity as instruments of political struggle in African states in the late 20th and early 21st centuries;
  • Religious traditions in the African diaspora, religious identity formation and development in African communities abroad.

The authors are welcome to submit their proposals as abstracts (250-400 words) with the CV both to the editor board address (religion@ranepa.ru) and the guest editor Ivan Krivushin (ivankrivushin@gmail.com) by December 31, 2020. If the proposal is confirmed, the articles (up to 7000 words) should be submitted by September 1, 2021.