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Anneke Newman

Jaarlijks biedt UCSIA de kans aan buitenlandse academici die belangwekkend wetenschappelijk onderzoek uitvoeren, hun onderzoek te verdiepen in samenwerking met academici van de Universiteit Antwerpen. Hiervoor nodigt de Universiteit Antwerpen twee ‘UCSIA-visiting scholars’ uit. Ze voeren postdoctoraal onderzoek uit naar thema’s die aansluiten bij de belangstelling van UCSIA: ethiek, religie of spiritualiteit in samenhang met interreligieuze en interculturele dialoog, wetenschap en cultuur, geneeskunde en maatschappij.

In 2017 komt dr. Anneke Newman naar het Centrum voor Migratie en Interculturele Studies. Anneke Newman is eveneens postdoctoraal onderzoeker aan het Laboratoire d’Anthropologie des Mondes Contemporains van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Challenging Stereotypes about Islamic Education and Migration: Stories from Senegal

Anneke Newman is als sociaal antropologe verbonden aan de universiteit van Sussex. Ze promoveerde op het thema onderwijskeuze en besluitvorming voor het secundair onderwijs bij de islamitische Haalpulaar’en in noordelijk Senegal, met aandacht voor de impact van sociaaleconomische status, gender en kaste.

This lecture will speak to two very pertinent and sensitive contemporary issues: Islamic education and human migration. The mainstream media bombards us daily with images of both, usually negative and sensationalist. As an anthropologist, I try to tell alternative stories which allow different voices to be heard. I will present my research on the relationship between Islamic education and migration in Senegal, West Africa. Here, parents opt to send their children either to Qur’anic schools, secular state schools, or hybrid Franco-Arab schools which teach religion alongside secular subjects.

What is fascinating about this context is that, for all types of schooling, it is high levels of emigration (of adult men in particular) that simultaneously provide:

  • the backdrop for people’s educational decisions,
  • the means to realise their desired school trajectories,
  • and often the funds for educational infrastructure itself.

These stories challenge our stereotypes about Islamic education as being associated with extremism or problems of integration; not only do Islamic schools in Senegal transmit an ethos of peaceful co-habitation, they are continually adapting to local educational demands and livelihoods, which in this case rely on internal and international migration. They also force us to consider the relationship between education and migration in new ways. Currently, the focus in policy debates is on how to adapt education to respond to the challenges of unprecedented forced migration, humanitarian disasters, and anti-migrant sentiment in receiving countries. The findings from Senegal allow us to shift focus, to consider how migration, and particularly members of the diaspora, can support and enable education in various ways. These findings are relevant to policy-makers working on education, but also anyone interested in Islam, Islamic education, and global mobility in the contemporary world.

The Polish Community School in Flanders: Bridging the Gap between the Polish Community and Flemish Mainstream Schools

Edith Piqueray (Departement Gelijke Kansen, Universiteit Antwerpen) onderzoekt in haar doctoraatsonderzoek de rol van het Poolse aanvullend onderwijs in de schoolcarrière van Poolse jongeren in het algemeen onderwijs in Vlaanderen.

Academic scholars have pointed out that minorities are often driven by ‘community forces’ to ensure a certain amount of internal continuity and cohesion while at the same time focusing on upward social mobility. Communities often develop strategies and depend on specific social and cultural resources to improve their overall educational situation. In line with Islamic education in Senegal, the Polish community schools in Flanders, where pupils are taught the Polish language and culture on Wednesday afternoons and/or Saturday mornings, can be seen as an example of such a strategy. As their importance, in particular in quantitative terms, has increased during the last decennium, they become a relevant site for research on education. Within the ethnically and socially stratified Flemish educational context, Polish community schools are gaining significance as they can offer social, cultural and linguistic capital absent in mainstream education but sought for by parents and children. By the use of qualitative data I will explain how these resources within the Polish school can improve or strengthen the school trajectories of Polish pupils in Flemish mainstream education. At first sight it could seem that Polish community schools, as well as Islamic schools in Senegal, have segregative intentions or implications as they are concentrated on bonding social networks. Instead of being segregative, the qualitative fieldwork data have shown that the Polish community school tries to be a bridge between the Polish community and Flemish mainstream schools.