yemi-balogun

Meet the Team – Adeyemi Sharapha Balogun

Now that the project has entered its final stages we are looking back on how involvement in the KEO research has shaped the ideas and carriers of our valued team members. We start the series with Yemi, who has been with the project from the very beginning as a research fellow and who is now conducting his own doctoral research at Bayreuth University, Germany. 

I am Adeyemi Sharapha Balogun, a Junior Fellow at Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), University of Bayreuth, Germany. My research focuses on the identity of young Muslims and Muslim organisations among the Yoruba of south-western Nigeria. Before coming to Bayreuth, I worked as a Teaching and Research Fellow for the ERC-KEO project between April 2012 and September 2015. In this period, I was in charge of the teaching responsibilities of the co-investigator of the project in Nigeria any time he was away on the field. I was also involved in many research related activities and logistics for the project.

Looking back, I would say that my involvement in the project represents a major turning point in my career.

Looking back, I would say that my involvement in the project represents a major turning point in my career. This is because the project gave me the first major work experience after school in an international collaborative research project, made up of vibrant and dedicated senior and young scholars. I benefitted immensely from the mentorship of the two investigators – Dr Insa Nolte and Prof Olukoya Ogen. Through them I was exposed to many aspects of academic research and the international academic community. They gave me their support and encouragement when I was about to start my doctoral programme. They also inspired me to broaden my own intellectual horizon, and motivated me to develop a deep commitment in the academic environment. I am, therefore, glad to have taken advantage of the platform provided by the KEO project to participate and present my own research in almost all the academic workshops and conferences organised or co-organised by the KEO project since 2012. I look forward to presenting another paper at the final conference of the project taking place at Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo Nigeria.

They also inspired me to broaden my own intellectual horizon, and motivated me to develop a deep commitment in the academic environment.

Throughout my involvement in the KEO project, I was fascinated by one of its major research questions which is on how Yoruba of different religious faiths co-exist with one another on a day to day basis. The project gave me the opportunity to see this interreligious encounter from a nuanced perspective. More importantly, I realised that interreligious encounter is an interaction that goes beyond religious conflict and tolerance among people of different religious faiths. It is also taking place in many other contexts such as marriage, economic activities, community development and health. Apart from this, the project helped me to understand the experiences of less well known but significant religious communities such as the Tabligh Jamaat and the Ijo Orunmila Adulawo among the Yoruba. Insights from these religious communities further revealed to me the dynamics and complexities of the religious experience of the Yoruba in modern times.

The project gave me the opportunity to see this interreligious encounter from a nuanced perspective.

I have to mention that since 2015 when I began my doctoral study, I have continued to appreciate the experience and knowledge I gained from being part of the KEO project. This is because I could relate much of the insights I got from the project with my present studies in literature, especially on field research and interreligious encounter.

It is interesting that throughout the period of the KEO project, several data was collected on the interreligious experience of the Yoruba. I am aware that several issues generated by this data have been produced in literature and presented at academic gatherings across the world. Notably among these are interreligious marriage, religious tolerance, rise of traditional religion and methods of interreligious studies. Now the first phase of this project is drawing to a close, I anticipate that many other issues will be explored. There is need to understand the role of religion in the Yoruba public sphere, piety in different religious communities and religion and Yoruba youth among others topics. With the level of commitment shown by the investigators in this first phase, I believe more studies will be produced on religious coexistence among the Yoruba after 2017.

With the level of commitment shown by the investigators in this first phase, I believe more studies will be produced on religious coexistence among the Yoruba after 2017

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