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(En)gendering Muslim Self-Assertiveness: Muslim Schooling and Female Elite Formation in Uganda

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AbstractThe article takes the role of school education in the historical marginalization of Muslims in Uganda to argue that recent transformations in the educational field have created new opportunities for Muslims to become professionally successful and to articulate a self-assertive identity as minority Muslims. In a second step the articles points to the particular significance that the recent shift in Muslims’ educational opportunities bears for Muslim girls and women. It argues that the structural transformations in the field of education since the late 1980s had paradoxical implications for female Muslims and for the situation of Muslims in Uganda more generally. The diversification of the field of primary, secondary, and higher education since the mid-1990s facilitated career options that had been unavailable to the majority of Muslims.Access to an education-based status is now possible for a wider segment of the Muslim population of Uganda. Yet in spite of long-standing efforts by representational bodies such as UMEA, educational reforms have not put an end to significant socioeconomic and regional differences among Muslims. There are still notable inequalities in access to high-quality education that have existed historically between Muslims from different regions of Uganda. These unequal schooling opportunities delimit the pool of those Muslims who may access institutions of higher education and hence articulate a new, education-based middle-class identity.

Affiliations: 1: Dept. of Cultural & Social AnthropologyUniversity of CologneAlbertus-Magnus-Platz50923 Kö


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