University of Florida Homepage
Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Afro-Dravidianism: A Senegalese-South Indian Muslim- Hindu Enchantment

January 19, 2018 @ 3:30 am

The Center for Global Islamic Studies (CGIS), in cooperation with the Center for Hindu Traditions (CHiTra) and the Center for African Studies, presents:

Afro-Dravidianism: A Senegalese-South Indian Muslim-Hindu Enchantment

A Baraza by Dr. Shobana Shankar

January 19th, 2018 @ 3:30PM

404 Grinter Hall

From the collection of Kenneth X. Robbins.

Abstract: In 1974, President Léopold Senghor of Senegal and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India together created an Indo-African studies project at the University of Dakar and Annamalai University.  How did the predominantly Muslim nation of Senegal and majority Hindu India construct their purportedly ancient connection through linguistics, folklore, and racial sciences? This paper explores “Afro-Dravidianism” as a distinct cultural nationalism in the early postcolonial era, one that sought to confront problems of assimilation and dissent in two very different and hitherto unconnected polities.

Bio: Shobana Shankar’s research focuses on cultural encounters in Africa, particularly in the areas of religion, education, and medicine. Her first book explored Christian-Muslim interactions in Northern Nigeria to reveal fluid religious identities that have been erased by present-day politics of difference. Her current book project focuses on the reverse—deconstructing the politics of “sameness” in assumptions about Afro-Indian political and racial solidarity vis-à-vis Euro-American hegemony. It explores African-Indian religious and intellectual experiments, beginning with the Ahmadiyya Muslim missionary movement in West Africa, that expose the creative and productive tensions in South-South relations. She has received fellowships from Fulbright, Wenner-Gren, and the American Historical Association, and, in 2018, she will become a fellow at the Humanities Institute of Stony Brook and Africa’s Asian Option Fellow at the Goethe Institute in Frankfurt.


Indira Gandhi receiving Leopold Senghor, c. 1975. Credit: Fondation Senghor, Dakar.


January 19, 2018
3:30 am