's new book Wrapping Authority: Women Islamic Leaders in a Sufi Movement in Dakar, Senegal
(University of Toronto Press, 2018), is an ethnographic study of women Sufi leaders in the Taalibe Baay or Fayda branch of the Tijaniyya. Hill provides life stories of various fascinating and powerful female muqaddamas (or Sufi leaders) in Dakar and explores how they navigate the complexity of their gendered authority in religious, familial, and public domains. The book examines the ambiguity of female religious leadership and its manifestation through piety and performance, be it through cooking, motherhood, and/or the use of a female voice. Hill frames these pious actions through the semiotic acts of “wrapping” (as opposed to “veiling”), as it provides a more expansive analytical framework for his project. The book will be of interest to those who work on gender and women in Islam, as well as those who engage contemporary Sufism, West African Islam, and anthropology of Islam.
Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Queen’s University. Her research areas are on contemporary Sufism in North America and South Asia. She is the author of
Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks in American Sufism (Bloombsury Press, 2018) and a co-author of
Contemporary Sufism: Piety, Politics, and Popular Culture (Routledge, 2017). More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org