On 12 December Francis Fogue Kuate will defend his PhD thesis in the University Hall. His thesis explores the interplay between media, politics and religion in Northern Cameroon, from the French colonial period (1916-1960) to the beginning of the 21st century. His research shows that media play a central role in shaping the debate on Muslims and Christians. Both religious groups use media for political competition and religious representativeness.
Coexistence in a complex setting
Despite the contemporary context of increasing extremism, media provide opportunities to study interactions between Muslims and Christians in postcolonial Africa that have barely been explored so far. In his dissertation, Fogue Kuate investigates how this trend can be reversed, by first showing how media shape the coexistence of the two religious groups in a complex and intertwined setting, characterised by nineteenth-century jihad and European colonisation of North Cameroon.
Colonial history and the liberalisation of media
Secondly, the hegemony of Muslims (Fulani) against non-Muslims, known as Kirdi or Habe, is set against the background of the colonial history of North Cameroon. Finally, it is explored how Muslims and Christians, through liberalisation of media since the democratisation processes in the last decade of the twentieth century, used media in competition for political positions and the public representation of their religion. The analysis is based on historical facts and evidence.
Competition and dialogue
Fogue Kuate states that besides religious actors and political entrepreneurs, the media play a central role in the framing of competition and dialogue between Muslims and Christians. In that prospect, decision makers, political entrepreneurs and religious actors need to reorient and/or reframe the way media, politics and religion intertwine with each other for a peaceful coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims in a context of religious diversity. This dissertation offers information and tools to help realise this.