Dr Jeremy Dell
Lecturer in African History pre 1900; African History
Affiliated research centres
I am a scholar of African global history, with a specialisation in the history of Islam in the Western Sahel. My research and teaching are anchored in the continent's own intellectual traditions, and I strive to make these traditions come alive in all of my work. My current book project, Saving Tradition: Archiving Islam in the Western Sahel, explores the history of collecting and preserving Arabic manuscripts amidst social and political upheaval in the West African countries of Senegal and Mali. I hold a doctorate in History from the University of Pennsylvania and have had significant research and language-training stints in Senegal, Mali, and Egypt. My work is based primarily in Arabic, Wolof and French sources, and I am an advocate of using African languages in historical research. Before joining HCA in January 2020, I was the inaugural Modern Intellectual History Postdoctoral Fellow at Dartmouth College (USA). I advise projects at the undergraduate and graduate level on a range of topics in African and Islamic history.
External Reviewer, Cahier d'Études Africaines
- African Intellectual History
- Transnational Islam and the African Diaspora
- Historical Skills & Methods II ("Grappling with Slavery in 19th-century West Africa")
- Islamic Africa
- Historical Methodology ("Global History")
- Historical Research: Approaches to the Past ("Global History")
Current PhD students supervised
- Gregory Amoah (African Studies), "Sermonising Aboard Public Transportation in Urban Ghana: Beyond Dilemmas of Competing Rights Claims."
- Emma Flanagan (History), "Spaces, Places, and Modes of Mobilisation: Tracing Pathways to Political Activism by Women across Post-War French North and West Africa."
Past PhD students supervised
- Francesca Baldwin (MSc), 'Faces of War: An Analysis of Female Combatants in Civil War and Revolution in Sierra Leone, 1991-2002.' Now a PhD student at the University of Reading.
- Comparative & Global History
- Language & Literature
- Nineteenth Century
- Twentieth Century & After
I am primarily interested in the intersecting histories of Sufism, Islamic law, and the global history of the book. Side projects have examined these topics in the context of French colonialism. I am currently in the early stages of developing a major second project on the history of domestic labour in Senegal.
Forthcoming. “Print in the Literature of Islamic West Africa," in Print Cultures and African Literature, 1860-1960, edited by Karin Barber and Stephanie Newell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
“Printing and Textual Authority in the Twentieth-Century Muridiyya,” in Manuscript and Print in the Islamic Tradition, ed. Scott Reese (De Gruyter, 2022), 271–88, https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110776485-010.
“The Sound of Laïcité,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 41, no. 2 (2021): 185–93, https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-9127063.
““Ajami and the Transmission of Sophisticated Knowledge,” Section Introduction to Part IV of Islamic Scholarship in Africa, edited by Ousmane Oumar Kane (Boydell and Brewer Limited, 2021), 323–25, https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787446076.019.
“Unbraiding the Qur'an: Wolofal and the Tafsir Tradition of Senegambia.” Islamic Africa 9, no. 1 (2018): 55-76. Traduction française: "Démêler le Coran: Wolofal et la tradition de tafsīr en Sénégambie," dans Erudition Islamique en Afrique: Nouvelles pistes de recherche et contexte mondial, sous la direction d'Ousmane Oumar Kane (Dakar: CEDIS, 2021), 402-418.
“An Encyclopedic Treasure.” Review of an Arabic critical edition of Kanz al-asrār wa-lawāqiḥ al-afkār (Le trésor des secrets et des idées fécondes), edited by Belkacem Daouadi. Journal of African History 55, no. 1 (2014): 126-127.
“Recreating Touba: Pilgrimage Videos in the American Muridiyya.” Islamic Africa 4, no. 1 (2013): 49-68.
WORKS IN PROGRESS
Saving Tradition: Archiving Islam in the Western Sahel (book manuscript)