This blog follows our research on everyday relationships between Muslims, Christians and members of other religions in south western Nigeria. Our main research focus is the Yoruba-speaking southwest of Nigeria, which is divided among Muslims, Christians and a much smaller numbers of traditionalists. Unlike many other parts of Africa, and indeed the world, with a religiously divided population, Nigeria’s over 30 million Yoruba speakers have experienced relatively little religious conflict in the past decades. Interpersonal relationships between Yoruba Muslims, Christians and traditionalists are also different from those in many other societies, and members of different religions often interact with each other on an everyday basis.

Ode Aye funeral party April 2012

While we are interested in the broader politics of religious difference, and especially Muslim-Christian relations, as an aspect of politics, we focus primarily on the personal dispositions and experiences that enable people to avoid or resolve conflicts in multi-religious societies. An important aspect of our research focuses on the way in which everyday encounters with religious difference contribute to the constitution of social identities associated with locality, class, gender and generation.

In order to develop comparative insights into different forms of religious co-existence and tolerance, we are also interested in research on other multi-religious societies. We are particularly interested in the way in which social identities emerge from the engagement with religious others, and in turn serve as anchor points for more general social and political dispositions. In all multi-religious societies, the way in which people encounter those of other religions plays a significant role in determining the nature of social relations, including the degree of religious tolerance.

Our work is funded by the European Research Council, which offers scientists of all backgrounds and nationalities who are based at a European university the opportunity to build up their own teams and to carry out innovative research. Our Starting Researcher Grant entitled “Knowing each other: everyday religious encounters, social identities and tolerance in southwest Nigeria” (Grant agreement no. 283466) runs from 2012-2017. 


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