The Politics of Religion in Africa: Social Movements, Digital Media, and the Global Public Sphere


Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs Collaborative Planning Grants




This project brings together scholars of Africa and religion, African journalists, and students at three institutions in the Greater New York City Area—the New School, Lafayette College, and Yale University—to discuss the politics of religion in Africa over an eighteen-month period. Since September 11, 2001, the politics of religion have come into greater focus for scholars in African studies. Euro-American concerns for radical Islam have resulted in foreign interventions across the African continent. Yet contemporary journalism and scholarship on this issue remain scattered. Furthermore, the politics of religion in Africa should not be limited to Islam but must extend to Christianity, Judaism, and indigenous faiths. This project is consequently motivated by three questions: First, how might case studies from Africa challenge mainstream media narratives regarding the global geographies and political itineraries of religion today? Second, what can US-based scholars and students learn about religious politics from journalists actively working on the continent? Third, how might US institutions support African journalists through media platforms, financial support, and critical methods that will enable future cutting-edge work? Our commitment to answering these questions is anchored in our involvement with the online platform Africa is a Country (, a non-profit media organization that has published approximately 1,600 contributors, the majority based in Africa. Through long-form journalism published on this platform, student coursework, a YouTube series, and two public workshops, this project hosted at The New School aims to strengthen connections between American scholars and African journalists through the theme of religious politics.