Engaging with a Legacy shows how Nehemia Levtzion shaped our understanding of Islam in Africa and influenced successive scholarly generations in their approach to Islamization, conversion and fundamentalism. The book illuminates his work, career and family life – including his own ‘life vision’ on the occasion of his 60th birthday. It speaks to his relationship with researchers at home and abroad as mentor, colleague and provocateur; in one section, several authors reflect on those dynamics in terms of personal and professional development. Levtzion’s contemporaries also speak of interactions with him (and his life-long companion, wife Tirza) in the 1950s and 1960s; we see in these writings the birth of West African historical studies. Levtzion’s arrival as Israeli graduate-student in Nkrumah’s Egyptian-leaning Ghana, and the debate over what ‘African Studies’ should mean in an environment that included the personal intervention of W.E.B. Du Bois, are stories told for the first time. Most poignant is the account of Levtzion’s commitment to building African Studies, complete with emphasis on Islam, in the heart of the Jewish state at The Hebrew University. His never-ending defence of the program reflected his determination to be both ‘engaged historian’ and ‘engaged Israeli’ – a legacy he chose for himself. Finally, an ‘Epilogue’ to the original publication shows how one aspect this legacy, Levtzion’s growing preoccupation with the ‘public sphere in Muslim societies’, has become even more relevant in ‘post-Arab Spring’ Africa and the Middle East.
This book was published as a special issue of the Canadian Journal of African Studies.
1. Engaging with the Legacy of Nehemia Levtzion: An Introduction E. Ann McDougall Memoirs and Memories 2. The Legacy of Nehemia Levtzion 1935-2003 3. Nehemia Levtzion and Islam in Ghana: Reminiscences Ivor Wilks 4. Memories of Nehemia Martin Klein 5. Remembering Nehemia: Personal Tributes Roland Oliver, William F. S. Miles, Naomi Chazan, and E. Ann McDougall 6. In Memory of Tirtza Levtzion, 1935-2007 Engaging with a Legacy 7. Breaking New Ground in "Pagan" and "Muslim" West Africa David Robinson 8. Neo-Sufism: Reconsidered Again John O. Voll 9. Linking Translation Theory and African History: Domestication and Foreignization in Corpus of Early Arabic Sources for West African History Dalton S. Collins The Ancient Ghana and Mali Project 10. Reconceptualizing Early Ghana Susan Keech McIntosh 11. Captain of We Band of Brothers: An Archaeologist’s Homage to Nehemia Levtzion Roderick J. McIntosh 12. From the Banan Tree of Kouroussa: Mapping the Landscape in Mande Traditional History David C. Conrad Developing "Themes": History of Islam in Africa 13. Christians and Muslims in Nineteenth Century Liberia: From Ideological Antagonism to Practical Toleration Yekutiel Gershoni 14. From the Colony to the Post-colony: Sufis and Wahhâbîsts in Senegal and Nigeria Irit Back 15. The Philosophy of the Revolution: Thoughts on Modernizing Islamic Schools in Ghana David Owusu-Ansah and Abdulai Iddrisu 16. A Question of Beginnings Kenneth W. Harrow 17. "Islamic Music in Africa" as a Tool for African Studies Michael Frishkopf 18. Hidden in the Household: Gender and Class in the Study of Islam in Africa E. Ann McDougall 19. The Last Word from Nehemiah: Resurgent Islamic Fundamentalism as an Integrative Factor in the Politics of Africa and the Middle East Nehemia Levtzion 20. Epilogue John Voll