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Tufts University

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

Senegal: National Identity and the Arts


Although the overwhelming majority of Senegal’s inhabitants consider themselves Muslim, there are still many customs and behaviors throughout the country that derive from traditional animism. In both the metropolitan regions and village settings, animist beliefs and practices are still present despite many influences including Islam and colonialism. Animist practices often work in conjunction with the very schools of thought that deem them forbidden. The purpose of this study is to explore surviving animist traditions in Senegal, their role in the present context, and animism’s relationship with Islam in order to fully understand the Senegalese culture in which these traditions play an important role. My research looks at major surviving animist practices, their influence in daily life, and how they have lasted into the present context.


Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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