PhD Defense Erik Meinema: Regulating Religious Co-Existence

Religieuze poster geplakt op een telefoonpaal in Kenia. Foto: Erik Meinema

On 15 June, Erik Meinema (Philosophy and Religious Studies) defends his dissertation titled "Regulating Religious Co-Existence: The Intricacies of ‘Interfaith’ Cooperation in Coastal Kenya".

'Interfaith' cooperation

In this PhD research, Christianity, Islam, and indigenous African religiosity (or ‘Traditionalism’) are analysed within one conceptual framework. This is relevant, since earlier scholarship in religious studies and anthropology has primarily focused on either Christianity or Islam, or the relations between one of these two religious traditions with Traditionalism. The topic is approached through a focus on civil society organisations which receive Western funding to organise ‘interfaith’ cooperation to ‘build peace’ and to ‘counter violent extremism’.

Religious coexistence

The thesis asks how modes of religious coexistence are negotiated and contested in such civil society settings, and how present modes of coexistence intersect with historical patterns of interaction. The main contribution of the thesis is that it provides a detailed analysis of how modes of religious coexistence in coastal Kenya have been shaped and constituted through colonial and postcolonial forms of political governance and through transregional connections and encounters between three important religious traditions of coastal Kenya, namely Christianity, Islam, and Traditionalism. In this way, the thesis demonstrates how the implementation of ‘interfaith’ cooperation in Malindi is not simply determined by Western donor policies, but also deeply entangled with established patterns of political governance and religious coexistence. 

Religious actors

The study emphasises the significance of paying detailed attention to the complex transactions and processes of translation that characterise the mobilisation of religious actors for development work and ‘interfaith’ cooperation, both in coastal Kenya and beyond.

Start date and time
End date and time
Online (link)
PhD candidate
Erik Meinema
Regulating Religious Co-Existence: The Intricacies of ‘Interfaith’ Cooperation in Coastal Kenya
PhD supervisor(s)
Prof. B. Meyer
Dr L.M. van Liere
More information
Full text via Utrecht University Repository