Page 62 - UCT2012 Humanities

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Dr Annie Leatt
Buddhist studies, theories and practices of post-colonial
secularism, Asian theories of body, personhood and self-
cultivation, political philosophy, critical theory
Dr Asonzeh Ukah
Religion and Globalisation; Transnational Religion; Media
and Material Culture of African Pentecostalism; Popular
Culture of Pentecostalism; Pentecostal Advertising; Faith
and Films; Urbanism and Sacred Space
Associate Professor Sa’diyya Shaikh
Islamic intellectual history; Qur’anic studies; hermeneutics;
Sufism; Islam and gender; women in religion; feminist
theory; religion; sexuality and reproductive health
Professor Abdulkader Tayob
Religion Education; Islam and public life; intellectual trends
in modern Islam
Associate Professor Charles Wanamaker
Commentary on 1 Corinthians; Cognitive Science and the
Study of Early Christianity
Adjunct Associate Professor Muneer Fareed
Islamic law, economics, Islam and development
Research Associate
Dr Lyn Holness
Rethinking faith and its imagery in the light of contemporary
developments, notably in science and inter-faith issues; a
holistic understanding of researcher development
Highlights from 2012
Book launches:
In December 2012, the Department of Religious Studies
hosted a launch of the research report
South African Muslim
Women: Sexuality, Marriage and Reproductive Choices.
outline outlines the major findings of a quantitative study
on South African Muslim women’s views of Islam and lived
experiences pertaining to these matters. All participants,
local community organizations, NGO’s working in the
Muslim community as well as local media (newspapers and
radio) were invited to attend the launch. Approximately
100 individuals attended. At the launch, the research team
presented the major findings of the research, followed
by a panel discussion on the significance of our research
findings. The following panellists gave a short presentation
related to particular research findings: Dr Rashied Omar
(Chairperson Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum),
Mwalima Mansura Africa (Islamic Unity Convention), Fatima
Noordien (Muslim Youth Movement), and Shamsunnisa
Sablay (The Islamic Network). Research booklets were
made available to all attendees and additional copies were
given to local organizations and NGO’s.
Wild Religion
is a wild ride through recent South African
history from the advent of democracy in 1994 to the
euphoria of the football World Cup in 2010. In the context of
South Africa’s political journey and religious diversity, David
Chidester explores African indigenous religious heritage
with a difference. As the spiritual dimension of an African
Renaissance, indigenous religion has been recovered in
South Africa as a national resource.
Wild Religion
indigenous rituals of purification on Robben Island, rituals
of healing and reconciliation at the new national shrine,
Freedom Park, and rituals of animal sacrifice at the World
Cup. Not always in the national interest, indigenous
religion also appears in the wild religious creativity of
prison gangs, the global spirituality of neo-shamans, the
ceremonial display of Zulu virgins, the ancient Egyptian
theosophy in South Africa’s Parliament, and the new
traditionalism of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma.
Arguing that the sacred is produced through the religious
work of intensive interpretation, formal ritualization, and
intense contestation, Chidester develops innovative
insights for understanding the meaning and power of
religion in a changing society. For anyone interested in
, Wild Religion
uncovers surprising dynamics of
sacred space, violence, fundamentalism, heritage, media,
sex, sovereignty, and the political economy of the sacred.
A special issue of the
Journal for Islamic Studies
published on Islamic Reform and Public Life in 2012. The
peer-reviewed articles were based on some of the papers
presented at the International Conference on Islamic
Reform and Public Life in Africa in 2012. These essays
suggest some interesting comparisons between Islamic
reform movements in various political contexts. From the
colonial state to the modern Moroccan Kingdom, these
movements are shaped in local politics. Secondly, the
articles suggest that reform is not a static concept, but
open to creative and malleable interpretation. Finally,
reform is not limited to Muslim debate and discourse. It is
widely debated in global publics, as the meaning and role
of religion in public life becomes critical in a global, and
increasingly interactive world.
Conferences hosted:
The Department of Religious Studies hosted an
international conference in December 2011, on
Experience, Subjectivity and Narrative in Studies of Gender
and Islam
. This conference brought together renowned
international and local feminist scholars of gender and
feminist scholars of Islam in South Africa. The intellectual
project of this conference was to explore critically the
connections between Muslim women’s experiences and
feminist theory and methodology in order to enable the