Allan Christelow is a specialist in the history of Islam in North and West Africa. His field experience began as a high school English teacher in the North African country of Algeria in the early 1970s. He completed a doctoral dissertation on the history of Muslim courts in Algeria at the University of Michigan in 1977, and then spent five years teaching at Bayero University in Kano, the largest city in predominantly Muslim northern Nigeria, in West Africa. Christelow has published books on the application of Islamic law in both Algeria and Nigeria, and he has delivered invited presentations at many major U.S. universities, including Stanford, Notre Dame, Yale, and Northwestern, and in nine different countries, including Holland, Israel, Algeria, and South Africa. He has taught at Idaho State University since 1983. In 2011, the University Press of Florida published his book Algerians without Borders, which is a study of the experience of Algerian emigrants and refugees from the eighteenth century to the present.
Gobo Fingo was a sheepherder, and a victim of the sheep-cattle wars of the West, meeting a violent end near Burley, Idaho in the 1880s. He began his life among the Xhosa people of South Africa, where he was orphaned during the Cattle Killing of the mid 1850s, a desperate, religiously inspired response to defeat in frontier wars and confiscation of land. A white family who emigrated from South Africa to Utah adopted him. This talk will take Gobo Fingo as a point of departure for talking about frontier experiences in South Africa, North Africa, and the American West.
This talk will explore efforts to promote dialogue between Islam and other faiths, including that of the Community of Sant’ Egidio, a lay Catholic community based in Rome that has sought to mediate conflicts in such settings as Algeria, Bosnia, and Somalia, and various efforts to build Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.