The Longue Durée Of Quran Schooling, Society, And State In Senegambia



This chapter is a narrative of the history of the Quran school (daara/dudal) in Senegambia and, later, in Senegal. It is based on primary documentation and a wide reading of secondary works on the social, political, religious, and cultural history of Senegambia.2 In these pages I explore the social location of Quran schooling from the precolonial period to the end of the twentieth century. Islam has been an important part of Senegambia since the eleventh century, but it is only one factor that has given a certain analytical integrity to the region. The major ethnic groups in contemporary Senegambia share intertwined social and political histories stretching back to at least the thirteenth century. Speakers of Pular, Wolof, Sereer, Manding, and Soninke all mingled in Senegambia, and they had many similar (but not identical) social and political institutions. With the exception of many Sereer speakers, all belong to a broader distribution of societies containing lineages of royal, free, slave, and casted origins.3 Although all the major polities formed in Senegambia in the past millennium seem to have had an ethnic core, they were multiethnic states with enough aspects of shared social organization that mobility between ethnic groups was often more fluid than between social categories.


Thirteenth Century Arabic Language Colonial Rule Muslim Brotherhood Islamic Education 
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© Mamadou Diouf and Mara A. Leichtman 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MichiganUSA

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