head shot of abdulbassit kassim

WEBSITE(S)| https://rice.academia.edu/AbdulbasitKassim


  • Islamic Studies
  • Africana Studies

Academic History:

  • M.A. Politics and International Relations, Keele University, 2013
  • B.Sc. International Studies, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, 2011

Abdulbasit Kassim is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Religion Rice University and a Visiting Doctoral Fellow at the Institute of Islamic Thought in Africa at Northwestern University. He received his M.A. in Politics and International Relations from Keele University and his B.Sc. in International Studies from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. His primary field of research is Islam and Africana Studies, with particular interests in African intellectual and religious history, history of classical and modern Islamic thought, slavery and race in Africa and the African diaspora, African and African diaspora religions, Arabic-Ajami codicology and textual anthropology, Africology and postcolonial studies, gender and sexuality in African Muslim societies, and religion in international relations.

Abdulbasit's dissertation titled “Old Reformers, New Dissidents: Continuity and Change in the Intellectual History of Islamic Thought, Reform and Jihad in Hausaland and Borno c. 1700-2015” examines the continuities and changes in the intellectual history of Islamic thought, reform, and jihad in Hausaland and Borno (commonly referred to as Northern Nigeria and Central Sudanic Africa). The dissertation provides a window onto the common and divergent methodologies of wide-ranging groups of reformers claiming the mantle of reform and jihad, but it does so by rejecting the historiographical binary of a reformist past either disentangled from the present or tethered teleologically to it. Unlike previous studies that focused on specific historical periods or religious movements, this project illuminates the core doctrinal ideas that Islamic reformers and dissidents in Hausaland and Borno have contested and appropriated to legitimize their projects of reform from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Research for the dissertation was supported by fellowships and awards from a number of institutions, including the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), African Studies Association, James T. Wagoner Foreign Study Scholarship, Marilyn Marrs Gillet International Travel Fellowship, Rice University's Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance Special Fellowship, Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, Rice University's Andrew Mellon Writing Fellowship, Rice University's School of Humanities and Rice University's Humanities Research Center. Abdulbasit has conducted ethnographic fieldwork and archival research in manuscripts repositories including the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies at Northwestern University, Al-Shaykh Sidiyya Boutilimit (Mauritania) Library of Arabic Documents and Manuscripts at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Institut fondamental d'Afrique noire (Dakar, Senegal), National Archives (Kaduna, Nigeria), Library of the Lugard Memorial Hall (Kaduna, Nigeria) and Arewa House Center of Documentation and Research (Kaduna, Nigeria).

Abdulbasit's first book, The Boko Haram Reader: From Nigerian Preachers to the Islamic State (published by Hurst, Oxford University Press and Ouida Books in 2018), co-edited with Michael Nwankpa, offers an unprecedented collection of primary source texts, audiovisual, and nashīds (martial hymns), translated into English from Hausa, Arabic, and Kanuri, tracing the history and evolution of the Boko Haram movement. His second book "Boko Haram: The Past of the Present Upheaval” is under advanced contract. His most recent publications have appeared in the Journal of Politics, Religion, and Ideology, Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, and the Combating Terrorism Center. Abdulbasit is a member of the American Historical Association, American Academy of Religion, African Studies Association, Lagos Studies Association, Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa, and Islam in Africa Working Group.