Somalia is a nation in the Horn of Africa and encircled by the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. Unusual in a continent with such striking internal diversity, Somalis are united by ethnicity, language, and religion, and reside throughout Somalia and Somaliland, in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and northern Kenya, in addition to a global diaspora. The modern boundaries of Somalia were set by British, Italian, and French colonial authorities and fail to reflect this regional population. Many Somalis regard “Greater Somaliland” as their homeland; the five pointed star of the Somali flag represents these...

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Egypt, located in Africa’s northeast corner, underwent a period of immense political turbulence in the wake of 2011 region-wide protests known as the Arab Spring. Political tensions before and after these important protests are typically characterized as stemming from a conflict between two ideologies, political Islamism and secular nationalism, both of which originated in the earliest responses to British colonialism. Historically and today, the nationalist/...

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Jacob Olupona

Jacob Olupona

Professor of African Religious Traditions
Professor of African and African American Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences


Nigeria is a large country both in terms of size, population, and importance on both a regional and global scale, and few issues are as central to the national ethos as religion. Religious practice in Nigeria is just as varied and diverse as the population, creating a complex and fascinating situation that arises from its “triple heritage,” of indigenous religious traditions, Islam, and Christianity.

Nigeria has over 270 ethnic groups who speak over 370 languages. While it has been suggested that about half of the population is...

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