hero image
Benjamin Soares - University of Florida. Gainesville, FL, US

Benjamin Soares Benjamin Soares

Director, Center for Global Islamic Studies | University of Florida

Gainesville, FL, UNITED STATES

Soares currently directs the project “Islam in Africa in Global Context.”


Soares is author or editor of several books: Muslim Youth and the 9/11 Generation (2016), New Media and Religious Transformations in Africa (2015), Islam, Politics, Anthropology (2010), Islam and Muslim Politics in Africa (2007), Muslim-Christian Encounters in Africa (2006), and Islam and the Prayer Economy (2005). He currently directs the project “Islam in Africa in Global Context.”

Industry Expertise (3)

Writing and Editing

Religious Institutions


Areas of Expertise (6)

West Africa

Christian-Muslim Relations

Religion & Politics

Islam and Muslim Studies

Religion & Media


Articles (5)

Religiosity and its others: lived Islam in West Africa and South India

Social Anthropology

Drawing on research about settings in South India and West Africa characterised by significant religious diversity, we reflect on the ways in which everyday religiosity among contemporary Muslims is constituted through difference and contestation. Our cases are from two ostensibly secular states – India and Nigeria – both former British colonies where secularism has been interrogated over the past few decades. In our focus on what we call ‘lived’ Islam, we pay attention not only to intra-Muslim differences but also to how religiosity is formed and experienced through engagement and encounters with Others, whether religious, ethnic or political, both locally and globally.

view more

Reflections on Muslim–Christian encounters in West Africa


Among historians, social scientists and scholars of religion there has been increased recognition of the importance of studying Islam and Christianity in Africa not separately but rather together as lived religions in dynamic interaction over time. In this article, I trace how scholars have arrived at such a point and consider some of the challenges of conducting research on religious encounters, and particularly those associated with studying Islam and Christianity, Muslims and Christians together.

view more

New Muslim public figures in West Africa

Islamic education in Africa: writing boards and blackboards

The author examines a new generation of Muslim public intellectuals, new stars of mass media in Mali and Senegal, none of whom were educated in the secular state system but who have attempted to synthesize classical and modernizing styles of Islamic teaching and preaching: Chérif Ousmane Madani Haidara and Penda from Mali, and Sidy Lamine Niasse from Senegal.

view more

Islam, jeunesse et trajectoires de mobilisation en Afrique de l'Ouest à l'ère néoliberale: un regard anthropologique

Collective mobilisations in Africa

Ce chapitre traite de la mobilisation de la jeunesse autour de l'islam en Afrique de l'Ouest. En tant qu'anthroplogues, chacun des auteurs a mené des enquêtes ethnographiques de longue durée, principalement en Côte d'Ivoire et au Mali, sur les dynamiques entourant l'islam et sur les différentes façons d'être musulman. Des projets de recherche sur la thématique du religieux ont aussi été développé dans les pays voisins: Nigéria, Sénégal et Burkina Faso.

view more

The historiography of Islam in West Africa: an anthropologist's view

The Journal of African History

In this article, I focus on the historiography of Islam in West Africa while also reflecting upon and assessing existing scholarship in the broader field of the study of islam in Africa. My position as an anthropologist who conducts historical research informs my perspective in evaluating the current state of the field and my suggestions for directions in which I think future research might move in order to advance our understanding of Islam and Muslim societies and the history of religious life in Africa more generally.

view more



Benjamin Soares Publication Benjamin Soares Publication Benjamin Soares Publication Benjamin Soares Publication Benjamin Soares Publication Benjamin Soares Publication




Saharan Connections I Team I Benjamin Soares I by Capsahara Islam in Nigeria: A Conversation in Preparation for the Visit of the Sultan of Sokoto Saharan Connections | Team | Benjamin Soares


Languages (1)

  • English

Affiliations (3)

  • Africa : Co-editor
  • International African Institute : Co-editor
  • International African Library : Co-editor