RS Learning Research Projects

1. Indigenous Intelligence and Livelihoods in Africa: Knowledge Systems in Selected Communities in Kenya

The project will examine the production, application, and transmission of indigenous knowledge among selected communities in Africa, with a focus on Kenya as a case study. Linguistically, Kenya is a multilingual society with over forty two different languages. This study proposes to analyze the indigenous knowledge(s) practiced in the selected communities with an intention to determining its relevance and impact on people’s livelihoods, together with the languages encoding and transmitting them. Indigenous skill(s) domiciled in the identified communities will be studied. Instances of sourcing, interpretation, and dissemination of the particular indigenous intelligences will be examined and analyzed to generate a database of indigenous knowledges in selected Kenyan communities.
Proposed duration: 24 Months (Two years) to commence early 2022
Funds Awarded: 24,000 Euros

Project Members

• Prof. Mosol Kandagor, Moi University, Kenya
• Mr. Kutol Kiprono, Moi University, Kenya
• Dr. Simon Omare, Moi University, Kenya.
• Dr. Jane Mwonga, Moi University, Kenya.
• Mosol Kandagor will focus on indigenous knowledge and ways of food preservation (meat, milk, honey and cereals), comparing gender roles among the Njemps and the Tugen Communities with a focus on aspects of semantics.
• Kutol Kiprono will analyse the language embedding the knowledge on predicting current and future aspects and possibilities of the wellbeing of the individual and society among the Tugen, focusing on the custodian, lexical choices, interpretation, and application.
• Simon Omare will focus on the indigenous knowledge aspects of African Religion and healing among the Ekegusii women.
• Jane Muonga will study the indigenous knowledge and healing music performances and rituals through a comparative analysis of Taita and Luo communities.
2. Islamic Popular Culture and Public Performance Practices: The Production, Transmission of Religious Knowledge and Creation of Cultural Identity in Africa
This research project seeks to examine the role of gender, local languages and performative aesthetics in the production and transmission of religious knowledge and how subsequently the resultant popular culture creates cultural identity and sense of belonging among Muslims in Kenya, Zanzibar, Senegal and Morocco.
Proposed duration: 48 Months (Four years), commencing 2022-
Funds awarded: 177,500 Euros

Project Members:

• Dr. Abdourahmane Seck, Religious Studies, Université Gaston Berger, Senegal
• Dr. Mwanakombo Mohammed, Kiswahili Linguistics, Moi University, Kenya.
• Dr. Britta Frede, Islamic Studies, University of Bayreuth, Germany
• Dr. Suleiman Chembea, Islamic Studies, Bomet University College, Kenya
• Prof Hassan Juma Ndzovu, Moi University, Kenya
Abdourahmane Seck will embark on an ethnographic documentation and analysis of the forms of re-appropriation of religious norms by the leisure and entertainment industry (TV shows and TV movies) in Senegal. He will conduct surveys in Dakar and Ziguinchor among directors and producers, but also among audiences to examine the reception and generated Islamic discourses from the margins.
Suleiman Chembea seeks to study on ‘Islamic Poetry’ in Zanzibar where he will investigate how active participation of women in poetry helps demystify the notion that Islamic knowledge production and dissemination is a male affair in textual and ‘religious’ formats.
Mwanakombo Mohamed’s contribution will concern the nature of ‘Islamic Poetry’, their functions and how they are produced embodying a reflection of Arabic terminologies and culture amongst the Swahili Muslim women in Lamu and Mombasa
Britta Frede will focus at popular Islamic culture in Morocco as it is represented especially on Internet platforms. She will investigate the role of male and female actors within this popular representation of Islam and look at its role in the process of informal transmission of Islamic knowledge by interviewing consumers of these online media productions.
Hassan Ndzovu will work in Kenya and Zanzibar where he will explore how the film-making industry has provided a platform that has been used by both male and female actors in engaging with Islamic discourse. In addition, his study will initiate documentation and cataloging of Islamic film videos in Kenya and Zanzibar.

3. Mediated and Mediatization of Islamic Knowledge in Kenya: Educational Institutions, Media Technologies and Performative Aesthetics

The project explored the proliferation of religious artifacts and institutions in the process of producing and transmitting Islamic knowledge in Muslim communities in Africa, with a focus on the case study of Kenya through the appropriation of Islamic Studies and social anthropology methods. It analyzed the ways in which Islamic knowledge gains significance for African Muslims through various means of transmission, including established educational institutions (madrassas and Islamic-integrated schools), poetry works of art and the various media technologies. The aim of the study is to shed new light on the dynamics and workings of Islam in Africa, by studying the changing means of knowledge production, transmission and shifting epistemologies as represented in the appropriation of the various available spaces as means of religious learning in selected locations in Kenya.
Duration: One year, 2021
Status: Completed in early 2022
Research undertaken under the larger project:
• Madrassa Educational System and Islamic Integrated Schools: Transmission of Islamic Knowledge, Syllabus Standardization and Religious Authority (Ndzovu)
• Islamic Radio Fatwas: Treatise Drawn from Question and Answer Radio Programme of Sheikh Badamana (Mraja
• Documentation and Archiving of Religiously Themed Materialities of Counter-Radicalization Campaigns in Kenya (Halkano)
• Shifting Dynamics of Spiritual Poems and Dances in Mediation and Mediatization of Knowledge and Religious Economy (Chembea
Funds awarded: 16,000 Euros

Warsha - Kiswahili ACC Worshop_Dec 2021 Book of Abstracts