Jeremy Aaron Dell

Ph.D. Candidate

BA, Columbia University (2006)

I specialize in the history of Islamic and Francophone Africa, with an emphasis on the political, cultural and religious life of the Western Sahel. My dissertation, Saving Tradition: Archiving Islam in the Western Sahel,  examines the production, collection, and preservation of Arabic manuscripts across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By tracing their movement from private family libraries to public archives, I argue that African-produced texts are not only important sources of data, but objects whose material histories reveal ideological investments central to the region's religious history. 


Cheikh Babou (adviser)
Eve Troutt Powell
Steven Feierman

Research Interests: 

African History (all periods), Comparative History of African and the Middle East, Book History, Visual and Material Culture, Sufism, Islamic law, Qur'anic studies

Selected Publications: 

"Unbraiding the Qur'an: Wolofal and the Tafsir Tradition of Senegambia." Islamic Africa, forthcoming.

"An Encyclopedic Treasure." Review of an Arabic critical edition of Kanz al-asrār wa-lawāqiḥ al-afkār (Le trésor des secrets et des idées fécondes), edited by Belkacem Daouadi.  Journal of African History 55, no. 1 (2014): 126-127. 

“Recreating Touba: Pilgrimage Videos in the American Muridiyya.”  Islamic Africa 4, no. 1 (2013): 49-68.

Courses Taught: 

Africa since 1800 (Summer 2017)

Other Affiliations: 

International Dissertation Research Fellow, Social Science Research Council (2013-2014)

Graduate Fellow, Penn Humanities Forum (2012-2013)

Fellow, Center for Arabic Study Abroad, American University of Cairo (2011-2012)