Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


African Studies Seminar: Hannah Höchner on Senegalese migrants’ children, homeland ‘returns’ ...

11 October 2018, 12:15 pm–1:45 pm


The UCL African Studies Seminar welcomes Hannah Höchner from the University of East Anglia for the first seminar of the Autumn Term: 'Senegalese migrants’ children, homeland ‘returns’, and Islamic education in a transnational setting.'

Event Information

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Hélène Neveu Kringelbach


IAS Seminar Room 20
First floor, South Wing, UCL
United Kingdom

A growing body of literature explores today how transnational migration affects both family life and childrearing practices. Several authors describe how young people raised in Western countries are sent ‘back’ to their parents’ homeland for reasons ranging from financial constraints, over the perceived threat of school failure, to ‘disciplining’. However, little has been said within this body of literature about ‘returns’ for religious reasons. Yet, sending children ‘back’ to the homeland for the sake of Islamic education is a widespread practice among Muslim migrants from several parts of West Africa. Drawing on data collected over a total of 14 months both among Senegalese migrant communities in New York, and in Islamic schools receiving migrants’ children in Dakar, Senegal, this paper outlines how living in a Western setting has heightened demands for religious education among Senegalese migrant parents. It then presents the different Islamic educational institutions migrant parents rely on in Senegal for their children’s education, and explores the experiences of the young people attending them. The paper challenges narratives equating homeland ‘returns’ with intergenerational continuity and the smooth transmission of religious identities, and highlights instead how homeland ‘returns’ give rise to complex negotiations of meaning and identity.

Download the Autumn 2018 programme here

All welcome.

This seminar series is convened by the African Studies Research Centre/IAS: