9th African Association for the study of Religions Conference in Africa

9th African Association for the study of Religions 2023

‘Creativity, Innovation and Imagination in African religions’ was the theme of the 9th African Association for the study of Religions Conference in Africa 2023.

The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies hosted this International Conference at the University of Nairobi Towers on Wednesday, Aug 2-4, 2023. The Conference was co-organized by the Association of the Study of Religions (AASR) and co-sponsored by the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR).

Master of Ceremony Dr. Karori Mbugua, Dept. of Philosophy and religious studies 

Researchers from more than 10 countries including Kenya, Botswana, Egypt, Congo, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa, Malawi and Uganda among others presented papers on all areas of religion touching on human beings.

The President of the AASR, Dr. Damaris Parsitau noted that, ‘As we embark on this journey of intellectual exchange and discovery, we recognize that Africa has been a cradle of diverse and rich religious traditions since time immemorial. From the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Nubia to the varied indigenous belief systems and the introduction of world religions, Africa's spiritual landscape has been a melting pot of creativity and imagination. Africa is also at an inflection point as we continue to grapple with various challenges and on-going transformations and tensions that shape how we live in this world and how we understand issues. Add to that mix is the tensions and promises that its religions pose to its people across the continent. Our choice of the conference theme is deliberate and timely, as the African continent continues to demonstrate its resilience and resourcefulness in the face of old and new challenges.’

President of AASR, Damaris Parsitau 

Prof. Justus Munywoki, the Director, Research, who represented the Vice-Chancellor, UoN, mentioned the timeliness of the conference in Kenya especially since the recent Shakahola massacre where over 400 people lost their lives through their association and belief in a religious cult and many other incidents that have been reported of late. He said that religion in Kenya has been used as a socio-politiocal tool. It has become a business opportunity for some. He also noted that true religion does not advocate for death in any form or manner.

Prof. Munywoki took the opportunity to announce the annual Research Week coming up in October that brings together researchers to the University from all over the globe. He urged the researchers to continue publishing and pursuing new knowledge in the area of African religions.

Prof. Justus Munywoki, Director Research representing the Vice Chancellor

The Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Prof. Jack Odhiambo was elated that through the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, the University gets to host an international conference with distinguished scholars. He welcomed them and wished them fruitful discussions throughout the conference.

Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Prof. Jack Odhiambo

On his part, the Chair of Department, Philosophy and Religious studies, Dr. Patrick Nyabul, welcomed the guests and highlighted, As you already know, the AASR was established in Harare Zimbabwe in 1992 with the aim of decolonising and stimulating the academic study of religions in Africa by providing a forum for debate and communication between scholars of African religions. The first AASR conference on African soil took place in 1999 at the Amani conference centre here in Nairobi.

Dr. Patrick Nyabul, Chair of Department, Philosophy and Religious Studies

He urged, ‘looking at the wide range of papers that will be presented at this conference in the next three days, it is clear to me that African traditions in the study of religion are slowly emerging and, more crucially, the research agenda is being set by indigenous African scholars themselves. I am also happy to note that African women scholars of religion are well represented at this conference and are taking their rightful place in the global study of religion.

The Opening Ceremony ended with a keynote address by Prof. Wario of Egerton University who spoke on, “Aesthetics, Politics and Imageries of Fighting Terrorism: Faith Based Entanglement in Counter Narrativity Production in the Horn of Africa”. Dr. Wario pointed out issues of religion and age, patriarchy, lack of guidelines and the teachings that bordered on Violence. He referenced teachings of Rogo and Makaburi and posed a question; How did religion end up in a never-ending discussion on counter-terrorism?

Dr. Abdi Wario, Egerton University  delivering a keynote 

Watch the Opening Ceremony here






































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