Courses Taught:

Hist 395: Oral History
History 292: Muslim Societies in Africa, south of the Africa
History 189: Women in African Colonial History
History 280: Intro to Public History
History 198: Global History from 1500 up to the present
AFAD 231: Africa and the Americas: The Ties that Bind

RACE 298: Islam in the African-American Experience

Abdulai Iddrisu, a native of Ghana, joined the History faculty at St. Olaf College after completing his PhD in African History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009. He also holds an M. Phil degree in History from Ghana’s University of Cape Coast (1998); a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree in History and a Diploma in Education taken concurrently from the University of Cape Coast (1991). He also holds a certificate in African Studies (2002) from Northwestern University, IL.

He combines archival work and the life history method in his study of Islamic Reform Movements in West Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries. His research interrogated religious conflict in one West African country by examining the educational initiatives of the “returnee” Wahhabi scholars and their role in the configuration of Muslim identity in Ghana. He has wide-ranging interests that include Islamic education, Islam and Development, Gender and Colonialism as well as Drum Histories and its methodological imperatives for oral transmission.

Abdulai Iddrisu’s publications include Contesting Islam in Africa: ‘Homegrown’ Wahhabism and Muslim Identity in northern Ghana, 1920-2010 (CAP, 2013). He also co-authored Islamic Learning, the State and the Challanges of Education in Ghana. NJ: Africa World Press, 2013. His has also written “The Growth of Islamic Learning in Northern Ghana and its Interaction with Western Secular Education” Africa Development Vol. XXX, Nos. 1 & 2, (2005), pp. 20-34; “The Ghana Public Records and Archives Administration Department-Tamale: A Guide for Users” History in Africa: A Journal of Method, Vol. 27 (2000), pp. 449-453. He has also published in various journals including the Canadian Journal of African Studies, Islam Et Societés Au Du Sahara, The Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Journal of the Institute of Education, and the Journal for Islamic Studies among others. His article on “Education Colonial and Missionary” appeared in Koninklijike Brill’s Encyclopedia of Women in Islamic Cultures: Family, Body and Health,(2006) edited by Suad Joseph and Afsaneh Najmabadi and four entries in M.E. Sharpe’s Encyclopedia of Urban and City Life in Africa, (Vol. VI, 2006). His written
Abdulai Iddrisu has been awarded a number of research fellowships and from 2006 to 2007 he was a Social Science Research Council- Idrf fellow. He was also a fellow of the Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA) at the Program of African Studies at Northwestern University, Evanston, 2002.

He made presentations at a number of places, and these include the annual African Studies Association meetings, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) meeting in Kampala, Uganda (December 2002) and recently at the Northwestern University’s Program of African Studies (Oct. 19, 2009) among others.

He taught at various institutions: a lecturer at Ghana’s University for Development Studies (1998-2003); Visiting Instructional Assistant Professor at Illinois State University at Bloomington, IL (2005); and an Instructor while studying for his PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

At St. Olaf College, Abdulai Iddrisu has appointments in the History Department and Africa and the African Diaspora. He enjoys teaching and hopes to bring a meaningful understanding of Africa to St. Olaf and Northfield, especially in an era where the need to study other people’s cultures has become an essential condition for global peace.

Abdulai lives with his two beautiful daughters. 

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