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Terje Østebø, Associate Professor

490 Grinter Hall/106 Anderson Hall
Islam in Africa, Contemporary Islamic Reform, Ethiopia, Horn of Africa

Terje Østebø is currently the chair of the Department of Religion, and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Religion and the Center for African Studies. He was the founding director of the Center for Global Islamic Studies, serving between 2014 and 2017. He received his Ph.D. in the History of Religions from Stockholm University. Before joining the faculty of the University of Florida, he was an Assistant Professor at NLA University College in Bergen, Norway.

Østebø’s research interests are Islam in contemporary Ethiopia, Islam, politics, and Islamic reformism in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa, and Salafism in Africa. He has lived in Ethiopia for 6 years and has a broad field-research experience and an extensive publication record on the abovementioned topics. He has also been involved in briefing/advising national and international policymakers on issues related to religion and politics in the Horn of Africa.

He has a broad experience with teaching, both nationally and abroad. Such teaching includes Islam in Ethiopia (both from historical and contemporary perspectives), Ethiopian history, contemporary Ethiopian society and politics, as well as religion and politics on the Horn of Africa. He also has extensive experience with teaching courses on Islam and Muslim cultures in East Africa, Christian-Muslim relations in East Africa, Christianity in contemporary Africa, as well as African Traditional Religions. The teaching has been carried out within the discipline of Religious Studies and in cross-disciplinary settings. He is also fluent in Oromo and has good knowledge of Amharic.

 Recent books:

  • Women’s Rights in Ethiopia: The Sharia Justice System, ILPI Report, 2016.
  • The Intellectualist Movement in Ethiopia, the Muslim Brotherhood and the issue of Moderation, NOREF (Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre) Report & Brief, March 2015.
  • Islam in Zanzibar: Case Study under the project Tanzania Towards 2015, (co-authored with Sterling Roop and Kjetil Tronvoll), ILPI Report No. 2, 2014.
  • Muslim Ethiopia: The Christian Legacy, Identity Politics, and Islamic Reformism (co-edited with Patrick Desplat), New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013.
  • Localising Salafism: Religious Change among Oromo Muslims in Bale, Ethiopia, Leiden: Brill, 2012.
  • Localising Salafism: Religious Change among Oromo Muslims in Bale, Ethiopia, PhD dissertation, Stockholm: Stockholm University, 2008.
  • A History of Islam and Inter-religious Relations in Bale, Ethiopia, Stockholm: Almquist & Wiksell International, 2005.

Recent articles:

  • “New Regimes of Religious Entrepreneurship: The Self-sanctifying Sufi Leader, Women and the Commodified Baraka” (co-authored with Yekatit Getachew) forthcoming in Africa Today, 2020.
  • “Religion and Ethnicity as Located and Localized”, forthcoming in Vasudha Narayanan (eds.) Companion on Religion and Materiality. London: Wiley, 2019.
  • “Islam and Islamic Reformism in Ethiopia”, in David Appleyard, Alessandro Bausi, Wolfgang Hahn, Steven Kaplan, Siegbert Uhlig (eds.) Ethiopia – History, Culture and Challenges. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2017.
  • “Ethiopian Muslims and the Discourse about Moderation”, (co-authored with Wallelign Shemsedin) in Journal of Modern African Studies, 55, 2, 2017.
  • “Islamic Reformism as Network of Meaning: The Intellectualist Movement in Ethiopia”, in Sociology of Islam, 4, 3, 2016.
  • “African Salafism: Religious Purity and the Politicization of Purity” in Islamic Africa, 6, 1-2, 2015.
  • “Dynamics of Religious Resurgence in the Horn” in The Horn of Africa Bulletin, March-April, 2015.
  • “Salafism, State Politics, and the Question of ‘Extremism’ in Ethiopia”, in Comparative Islamic Studies, 8, 1, 2014.
  • “Are Religious Leaders a Magic Bullet for Social/Societal Change?  A critical look at anti-FGM interventions in Ethiopia”, (together with Marit Tolo Østebø) in Africa Today, 60, 3, 2014.
  • ”Claims for Authority at the Shrine of Shaykh Hussein, Ethiopia”, in Journal of Islamic Studies, 25, 2, 2014
  • “The revenge of the Jinn: Spirits, Salafi Reform, and the Continuity in Change in Contemporary Ethiopia”, inContemporary Islam, 8, 1, 2014
  • “Islam and State Relations in Ethiopia: From Containment to the Production of a ’Governmental Islam’”, in Journal of the American Academy of Religion,81, 4, 2013.
  • “Islamic Militancy in Africa”, Africa Security Brief no. 23, Washington DC: Africa Center for Strategic Studies.
  • “Revolutionary Democracy and Religious Plurality: Islam and Christianity in Post-Derg Ethiopia” (co-written with Jörg Haustein), in Journal of East African Studies, 5, 2, 2012.
  • “The Power of Muslim Institutions in Consolidating Democracy: A Perspective from Bale”, in Kjetil Tronvoll and Tobias Hagmann (eds.): Contested Power: Traditional Authority and Elections in Ethiopia, Leiden: Brill, 2011.
  • “Local Reformers and the Search for Change: The Emergence of Salafism in Bale, Ethiopia”, in Africa, 81, 4, 2011.
  • Islamism in the Horn of Africa: Assessing Ideology, Actors, and Objectives, Report no. 2, International Law and Policy Institute, 2010.
  • “Religious Change and Islam: The Emergence of the Salafi Movement in Bale, Ethiopia”, in Harald Aspen, Birhanu Teferra, Shiferaw Bekele, and Svein Ege (eds.): Research in Ethiopian Studies, Viesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2010.
  • “Une économie salafi de la prière dans la région du Balé en Éthiopie”, in Jean Louis Triaud and Leonardo A. Villalón, (eds.): L’économie morale et les mutations de l’islam en Afrique sub-saharienne. (Moral Economy and Transformations of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa). Special issue of Afrique Contemporaine, 231, 2009.
  • “Growth and Fragmentation: The Salafi Movement in Contemporary Bale, Ethiopia”, in Roel Meijer (ed.): Global Salafism: Islam’s New Religious Movement, New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.
  • “Islam in Ethiopia: Bordering the Borders of Christianity”, in Stig J. Hansen, Atle Mesøy and Tuncay Kardas (eds.): Borders of Civilisation: Exploring Samuel Huntington’s Faultlines from Al-Andalus to the Virtual Ummah, New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.
  • “The Question of Becoming: Islamic Reform Movements in Contemporary Ethiopia”, in Journal of Religion in Africa, 38, 4, 2008.
  • “Christian-Muslim Relations in Ethiopia”, in Anne N. Kubai and Tarakegn Adebo (eds.): Striving in Faith: Christians and Muslims in Africa, Uppsala: Life & Peace Institute, 2008.