Dr. Bakheit Mohammed Nur
Bakheit Mohammed Nur holds a PhD in Anthropology from Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), University of Bayreuth, Germany; and Bachelor in Sociology and Social Anthropology, and a Master in Social Anthropology from University of Khartoum, Sudan. Between 2019 and 2021, Nur was a postdoctoral fellow at the Chair of Anthropology, University of Bayreuth where he worked on the project “Islam, Politics, and Society: Islamist Education Policy and Epistemic Orientation in Sudan” funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. Between 2018 and 2019, he was a lecturer at the Institute of African and Asian Studies (IAAS), University of Khartoum. His research focuses on Anthropology of Islam; Islamic Epistemology; Education and Knowledge; Religion and Conflicts; and Muslim Religious Specialists; Automobility and Technology. Nur’s most recent publication include: The Religious Men in Jebel Marra: The Process of Learning and the Performance of Islamic Rituals and Practices, LIT 2017; A Case Study of Socio-cultural and Technical Factors in Automobile Design: Discourses between Designers and Potential Users on a New Electric Vehicle in Africa, Technology in Society, 2020; Sudanese Islamists’ Civilizing Project: The Case of Comprehensive Call. The Annual Review of Islam in Africa, 2020; Muslim Education Policies and Epistemologies in African Tertiary Education; In: Jamaine Abidogun and Toyin Falola (eds.) “The Palgrave Handbook of African Education and Indigenous Knowledge”, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.
- Nur, Bakheit Mohammed (2017). The Religious Men in Jebel Marra: The Process of Learning and the Performance of Islamic Rituals and Practices. Berlin: LIT.
- Nur, Bakheit Mohammed (2020). A Case Study of Socio-cultural and Technical Factors in Automobile Design: Discourses between Designers and Potential Users on a New Electric Vehicle in Africa. Technology in Society, 63, pp. 1-9.
- Medani, Khadidja & Nur, Bakheit M. (2020). L’islamisation de la connaissance et ses institutions dans le monde musulman contemporain: Le cas du Soudan et de l’Université internationale d’Afrique. Cahiers d’Études africaines, 240 (4), pp. 827-849.
- Nur, Bakheit Mohammed (2020). Sudanese Islamists’ Civilizing Project: The Case of Comprehensive Call. The Annual Review of Islam in Africa, 17, pp. 10-18.
- Nur, Bakheit Mohammed (2018). Technologies of the Intellect: Mnemonic Techniques as Significant Pedagogical Methods of Islamic Education in Western Sudan. Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 143(2), pp. 221-236.
- Nur, Bakheit Mohammed (2020). Muslim Education Policies and Epistemologies in African Tertiary Education; In: Jamaine Abidogun and Toyin Falola (eds.) “The Palgrave Handbook of African Education and Indigenous Knowledge” (pp. 559-575). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.
Since the European colonialism, Muslim societies in Africa have faced a form of educational dualism comprised of Western and Islamic systems of education. In response, educators attempt to (re)structure education conceptually and pragmatically in the contemporary Muslim world by suppressing and silencing that which sounds Westernized and by (re)creating that which they see as harmonious with socio-cultural and religious norms of Muslims and their worldviews. They have launched an epistemic movement called the “Islamization of Knowledge,” which establishes theoretical models and pragmatic objectives for religiosity, educational (re)orientation, and reconfiguration in Muslim societies. Protagonists of the movement attempt to decolonize knowledge, unmake de-Islamization, and theorize Muslim educational dilemmas and socio-political impulses. They have established modern Islamic universities across the African continent to realize the objectives of the Islamization of knowledge, conduct scientific research, and reconfigure educational policies, practices, and teaching methods.
This study examines epistemological, pedagogical, and methodological practices within Islamic universities through the example of Sudan, which has become an active member of an Islamic higher education network on both regional and global scales. Sudan hosts prominent Islamic institutions of higher learning like the University of the Holy Qur’an and Islamic Sciences, Omdurman Islamic University, and the International University of Africa. The study argues that the popularization of Islamist epistemology and the recruitment of new protagonists occur mainly within these Islamic universities.
The politics of Muslim higher education, as well as the movement’s epistemic narratives of decolonization and reformation, are under-researched and under-theorized in the field of African studies. The study seeks to contribute to the debate surrounding Islamic universities and examine their role in (re)creating new forms of knowledge and lifeworlds. It attempts to uncover how faith-based universities Islamize knowledge; which elements of Western influence and thought they reject, why, and how; and toward which kinds of Muslim thought they want to direct students and why? How do Islamic universities depart methodologically from Western epistemology and thought in the era of technological interconnectivity and flow of information between nations, cultures, and faiths? To what extent do Islamic universities contribute to postcolonial educational reform, which takes place across African universities? The study delves into a detailed ethnography that answers these questions.