Current Institutional Affiliation
Vice Consul, Israeli Consulate, United State Consulate

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2003
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Northwestern University
Division, Change and Islam in Rural Mali: A Social-Intellectual History of Gimbala, 1862-1930

My research will examine how articulate, often literate Muslim commoners from a rural African region thought about and re-thought Islam in the context of (1) a diverse, often bitterly divided regional Islamic intellectual culture, (2) the social categories of most immediate importance to their lives, and (3) the changes in those social structures that attended a major macropolitical transition from a late pre-colonial era of Islamic factional war (1862-1894) to the early colonial period (1894-1930). My aim is a history of Gimbala at once social and intellectual: social because of its focus on "ordinary" people and the social structures which affected their lives most immediately (village chiefship, slavery, the family, and ethnicity); intellectual because of its attention to the content of ideas. A varied source base of French colonial, extra-local Arabic, oral, and, most innovatively, rural private library sources will allow me to reconstruct a multi-directional account of the relationship between social change and intellectual action, tracing Gimbalans' everyday discursive acts along multiple social axes.