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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Institute of Asian and African Studies

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences | Department of Asian and African Studies | Regional Departments | African Studies | Events | Upcoming Events | 24.04. Africa Colloquium: Loud, Silent Voices: Muslim Female Visibility in Islamicate Entertainment Spaces of Northern Nigeria

24.04. Africa Colloquium: Loud, Silent Voices: Muslim Female Visibility in Islamicate Entertainment Spaces of Northern Nigeria

Prof. Dr. Abdalla Uba Adamu (Department of Information and Media Studies, Faculty of Communication, Bayero University Kano)
When Apr 24, 2019 from 04:15 PM to 05:45 PM (Europe/Berlin / UTC200) iCal
Where IAAW, Invalidenstr. 118, Raum 410
Contact Name

Vortrag im Rahmen des Afrikakolloquiums

Gemeinsame Veranstaltung der Professuren für Afrikanische Geschichte, Linguistik und Literatur

 

 

Prof. Dr. Abdalla Uba Adamu

(Bayero University Kano)

 

Loud, Silent Voices: Muslim Female Visibility in Islamicate Entertainment Spaces of Northern Nigeria

 

The re-introduction of the Shari’a Muslim law in northern Nigerian States in 1999 after years of military dictatorship  opened a new vista for freedom of worship – and closed one on freedom of visibility, particularly for women entertainers. The Shari’a Law sas the creation of a moral police, called ‘Hisbah’, charged with the responsibility of ensuring what is good and preventing what is bad in the Islamicate public space. The law also saw the introduction of a Censorship agency that filters creative works in music, literature and films, to ensure conformity with Islamic laws.

Most affected were female entertainers, who due to Islamic injunctions are not allowed in mixed-gender public spaces without an accompanying ‘mahram’ – a guardian who is sexually prohibited to her due to filial relationship. The entertainment culture in terms of music, fiction and film therefore imposed a restriction on how women can be represented or represent themselves through these media. While women are allowed to entertain guests and sing, but it must be to a female audiences, and even then, without any provocative choreography. This saves the female entertainer from the ‘male gaze’. What is therefore emphasized in the prohibition is the mixed gendered nature of entertainment which is seen as ‘haram’ (prohibited) and licentious in an Islamicate public – both virtual and non-virtual – space.

My paper  chronicles the various ways Muslim women entertainers in the Muslim world generally, and with specific ethnographic field data on northern Nigerian Muslim entertainers, negotiate the delicate balance between their identity as Muslims and their creativity as entertainers in the public sphere. I also explore the subversive ways northern Nigerian Muslim women negotiate the often loose barriers to their public visibility in their performances to practice their art. This often puts them in danger of public ridicule and ostracization and reduces the confidence with female Muslim entertainers can practice their art in northern Nigeria.

 

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