Hi! I am Luca. I work as a PhD candidate on the project with a focus on religion, mobility, and womanhood. My study is entitled Roaming Islam: endurance among Fulani women in Chad (working title).

‘Roaming Islam’, first of all, refers to an Islam of Fulani nomads, who are known to roam lands to find pasture and Quranic education. The idea also refers to cellular roaming – the mobile phone service that allows people to connect when travelling abroad. I use the term to address how mobile phone usage recreate and reinforce ties between transregionally dispersed groups of Muslims and the ruptures that characterizes it. Finally, ‘roaming Islam’ refers to the moral reasoning of mobility and how the engagement in the mediation of divine practices is entangled with boundaries of mobility.

Faith allows people to positively impact their livelihood and status and cope with everyday insecurities. Khalwāt are central hubs in the formation of religious support networks. The Quranic schools exist for young and old, men and women, Fulani and a variety of other ethnic groups. Through the khalwa, a diverse demographic population fulfils their search for Islamic knowledge. The Quranic education system in the Sahel is known to reveal wider processes of social mobility, economic disadvantage, rural decline, and shifting kinship relations. The schools moreover have a history dating back to the empires of- and the spread of Islam across sub-Saharan Africa. Urbanization, changing economic conditions, increased online connectivity, and regional conflict currently shift the Chadian educational landscape. In my study I focus on how women adapt to these changes, what it means for their practices, as well as which historical developments are at the heart of the ideologies they embrace. I specifically work with female Islamic authorities and their (Fulani) follower communities.

For the project I follow a computational and ethnographic approach, integrating digital anthropological methods with Social Network Analysis (SNA) and topical techniques such as hashtag analysis. In this case, the ethnography (or nethnography) concerns a hybrid approach of online and offline long-term fieldwork in Chad.