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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Njangaan: The Daily Regime of Qur'anic Students in Twentieth-Century Senegal
Author:Ware, Rudolph T.
Year:2004
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Volume:37
Issue:3
Pages:515-538
Language:English
Geographic term:Senegal
Subjects:Islam
child labour
pupils
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Education and Oral Traditions
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4129043
Abstract:This paper explores the changing perceptions and realities of the time and labour regimes of live-in koranic 'taalibes' (students; called 'njàngaan' in Wolof) in 20th-century Senegal. Using writings of live-in students from the early 20th century and interviews with former students who attended schools in the 1960s and 1970s, the paper seeks to dispel some of the myths about farming, begging and studying by exploring the historical realities. Western critiques of the labour regime of 'taalibes' are rooted in stereotyped conventions rather than real information. The Western aversion to child labour is a well-understood phenomenon. However, in agricultural societies with low technological inputs, families do not suffer their children to skip around singing songs while everyone else works. Partially for this reason, Senegalese Muslim reformers have not usually attacked the farm labour practices of the 'daaras' (koranic schools). The focus of the 'arabisant' critique is on begging. The Western aversion to the practice of begging among koranic students is partially derived from general concerns about child labour, but it is also based on an unfavourable opinion of begging itself. Senegalese aversions to the practice root in the same ground. For many Senegalese Muslims, however, both seeking and giving charity has profound spiritual and moral benefits for precisely these reasons. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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