Religion and Changing Patterns of Authority in Africa

Project Expert

Ebenezer Obadare
Ebenezer Obadare

Douglas Dillon Senior Fellow for Africa Studies

About the Project

As the authority of the postcolonial African state steadily erodes in the face of numerous domestic and external challenges, scholars and policymakers have pondered how to reconstitute it. Curiously, the potential role of religion is downplayed when not totally omitted. The Project on Religion and Changing Patterns of Authority in Africa aspires to correct this oversight. It seeks to understand the role of spirituality in how ordinary people grapple with and strive to transcend the crisis of the state, how political leaders mobilize and manipulate religious symbols and affiliations, and how the religious class negotiates the state-society interface. The project tackles these questions through roundtable meetings, blog posts, and articles. 

Events

West Africa

Chiedo Nwankwor, vice dean of education and academic affairs, and director of SAIS Women Lead at Johns Hopkins University, and Ebenezer Obadare, the Douglas Dillon senior fellow for Africa studies at…

Blogs

Nigeria

Nigerians are increasingly frustrated with the Bola Tinubu administration, none more so than Nigerian Christians.

Nigeria

When it comes to wealth transfer, Nigerian Pentecostal churches prefer to keep it all in the family.  

Nigeria

The phenomenon of state-sponsored weddings across Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim northern region raises pertinent questions on the limits of political benevolence.

Nigeria

What various forms of bodily deportment can teach us about power and authority in Africa.

Niger

The apparent success of the military coup in Niger bodes ill for democracy and stability in the Sahel and the rest of the continent.

Nigeria

Nigeria’s close-run presidential election was not about religion, until it was.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Pope Francis’ diagnosis of the causes of African underdevelopment is simplistic, condescending, and ahistorical.

Nigeria

Nigerian Christians must decide whether to cut or thrust. 

Nigeria

Horrendous killing of college sophomore highlights the country’s ethnoreligious fault line, but interdenominational rivalry in the south is of no less moment.

Nigeria

The brutal murder of college sophomore evokes conflicting visions of citizenship and political identity in Nigeria.

Nigeria

Despite the mockery she receives, Pastor Mummy G.O. is an exception to the Nigerian Pentecostal norm as her strict theological model contrasts sharply with Pentecostalism’s current adhesion to the Prosperity Gospel.

Ghana

Across West Africa, Pentecostal pastors hold huge public sway. Their influence is a reflection of deepening distrust of the secular state and its ability to fulfill citizens' demands.