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Gunning Lecture: West Africa's Women Prophets

Although the prevailing representations of African religions have overlooked the important role of the supreme being and of traditions of prophetic revelation, this talk will examine the history of a tradition of divine revelation within the indigenous religion of the Diola (Jola) of Senegal, Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau.  During the pre-colonial era oral traditions contain evidence of at least fifteen male prophets claiming direct revelation from the supreme being, Emitai.  Since the colonial conquest in the late nineteenth century, however, more than fifty prophets have emerged, two thirds of whom have been women.  Moreover, these prophets, literally those whom Emitai has sent, challenged both colonial and post-colonial efforts to restrict Diola autonomy and to integrate them into a colonial economy that would have undermined Diola agriculture and the status of women.

This is a free lecture to which all are invited.   The lecture will be followed by a Reception in Martin Hall.