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Catalog Archive / Spring 2023

Equals in Learning and Piety
Muslim Women Scholars in Nigeria and North America

Women in Africa and the Diaspora
Stanlie M. James and Aili Mari Tripp, Founding Editors

“Through a detailed history of Muslim women’s education in Hausaland and contemporary North America, Mack brings her deep knowledge of Hausa, poetry, and Islam to bear on how we understand Muslim women as educators, poets, and essential actors in their societies. This is an important book that will change how people think about Muslim women.”
—Katrina Daly Thompson, author of Zimbabwe’s Cinematic Arts: Language, Power, Identity

Understanding the significance of Muslim women’s scholarship

Equals in Learning and Piety is an intellectual history of the ‘Yan Taru (Associates) movement, a women-led Islamic educational organization still active in both northern Nigeria and the United States. Drawing on scholarship across disciplines including history, Islamic studies, anthropology, gender and women’s studies, and literary studies—alongside rigorous ethnographic research and interviews with leading Nigerian Muslim scholars—Beverly Mack argues that this formidable Muslim women’s movement consolidated the religious and social order established by the Sokoto Jihad in the early nineteenth century.

Mack shows how women scholars instructed rural Hausa and Fulani women in Muslim ethics, doctrine, traditions, and behavior that followed and replaced the traumatic experience of warfare unleashed by the Jihad, shaping people’s agency in the dynamic process of social change throughout the nineteenth century. Women imaginatively reconciled Muslim reformist doctrines and traditional practices in Nigeria, and these doctrines have continued to be influential in the diaspora, especially among Black American Muslims in the United States today. With this major investigation of a little-studied phenomenon, Mack demonstrates the importance of women to the religious, political, and social transformation of Nigerian Muslim society.


Beverly Mack. Beverly Mack is professor emerita of African studies in the Department of African and African American Studies at the University of Kansas. Her books include Educating Muslim Women: The West African Legacy of Nana Asma’u (with Jean Boyd) and Muslim Women Sing: Hausa Popular Song.




“An excellent addition to scholarship on Nigerian religious studies. With a firm foundation in the religious, social, and political history of Nigeria from the nineteenth century to the present day, Muslim Women Scholars is engaging, insightful, and wide-ranging. Mack’s analysis of the impact of ’Yan Taru on Black Muslims in the United States in particular underscores the dialectical tension between the local and the global, national and transnational, gender and generation in the age of neoliberal globalization.”
—Olufemi O. Vaughan, author of Religion and the Making of Nigeria

“A seminal study. . . . A masterpiece of original scholarship.”
Midwest Book Review



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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Notes on Terminology, Names, and Orthography

Introduction: Muslim Women as Change Agents in Nineteenth-Century Nigeria and the Contemporary United States

Part I: Women Transform Society
Chapter 1. Transmission through Generations: Nigerian ‘Yan Taru in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
Chapter 2. Muslim Women’s Roles and Scholarship
Chapter 3. ‘Yan Taru’s Role in Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Nigerian Education
Chapter 4. Fodiology: ‘Yan Taru in North America

Part 2 Piety and Poetry
Chapter 5. The Sanctity of Knowledge and Women’s Authority
Chapter 6. Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Women’s Scholarship
Chapter 7. Uwardeji Maryam and Hubbare Residences
Chapter 8. Nigerian ‘Yan Taru Instruction and Curricula




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Book Title

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July 2023
294 pp. 6 x 9
4 b/w illus., 1 map

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Cloth $79.95 S
ISBN 9780299342609
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