Lessons in "Making Do" with Modernity: Islamic Knowledge, Secular Schools, and Social Change in Senegal


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation examines how the disjunctures and contradictions between knowledge transmitted in Islamic and secular schools in urban Senegal and the lived realities of their students play out. Islamic education is confronted with new ways of being due to colonial transformations and the global market economy. Public secular schools are increasingly unable to connect students to professional opportunities and have lost prestige. Senegalese youth negotiate the idiosyncrasies and challenges of this gap by engaging in practices of “making do” and by relying on “seeming” or paraître, rather than “being” or être. This project examines the dilemma of education under modernity, namely its capacity both to enable and disillusion young people.