The aim of this panel is to take stock of recent initiatives in the study of Christian and Islamic movements and to consider the theoretical implications of placing their study in one conceptual framework. What new questions and research themes emerge?
In many parts of contemporary Africa, the Christian and Islamic worlds rub against, and interact with each other, in arenas of diversity and pluralism. Yet so far research on Islam and Christianity has mainly been conducted in two quite distinct fields with their own scholarly communities, themes and debates. But recently scholars have started to venture into comparative research, exploring similarities and differences, as well as mutual influences and interactions between Islam and Christianity, particularly as regards Islamic Reformist and Pentecostal-Charismatic movements. The use of similar media, attitudes towards urban space, practices of piety, attitudes towards "traditional religion," identity politics, etc. have proved to be productive entry points for comparative study. The aim of this panel is to take stock of these initiatives and to consider the theoretical implications of placing the study of Islam and Christianity in one conceptual framework. What new questions and research themes emerge? What are the potentials and limitations of looking for similarities, overlaps, interactions and mixtures between Christian and Islamic movements? Does a focus on similarities make scholars underplay crucial differences? How might this field of study be further developed?