• The Myth of African Culture in Islam

      Talton, Benjamin; Asante, Molefi Kete, 1942-; Asante, Molefi Kete, 1942- (Temple University. Libraries, 2013)
      The point of my research is to reassess themes and notions of cultural imperialism and African perceptions and responses to foreign influences, while at the same time explore traditional cultural patterns, cultural identity, and continuity within the context of an ethno-history. It further brings together and subsumes scholars and Muslim intellectuals of nineteenth and twentieth-century African history from a variety of backgrounds and their learned and unique perspectives on the self-perceptions of African Muslims in the Senegambia. My initial project is to construct a historical and cultural account regarding how Murids in the Senegambia distinguish themselves as a particular group of African Muslims in West Africa based on identity and religious practices. It is significant because it attempts to examine the cultural and traditional identities of Wolof and Murid communities in the Diaspora within the social collective, while at the same time examine the interplay between the Arab cultural influences of Islam in conjunction with African religious customs and practices through the historical experiences of Cheikh Amadu Bamba Mbeke 1853-1927. By combining archival and oral testimonies with historical research, this paper will shed light on the initiatives and creativities of Amadu Bamaba, and how he shaped Wolof culture and continuities that distinctively characterizes the Senegambia. Further, it investigates how the continuity of Wolof history, culture, and identity is directly linked to Cheikh Amadu Bamba himself who is a central figure to Wolof collective identities. Moreover, it reveals how Amadu Bamba's tariqa served as an instrument for Wolof in the Senegambia to not only share essential attributes that constitute their identities as distinct Muslims, but also manifests how their practice of Islam sets them apart from the broader world of the religion itself. Although much of the scholarship of Africa pays particular attention to the legacy of imperialism and how it shaped post- colonial policies, there has been very little research regarding the idiosyncrasies and the ontological nature of conquered people, and how they have shaped alien influences to be compatible with their cultures.