By Dr. Pamela Rader, Chair & Associate Professor of English
I have confided in my students, who have read Léopold Sédar Senghor’s treatise on Négritude and Mariama Bâ’s novella in my classes, that I have wanted to visit Senegal in west Africa for many years now. The Global Transformation Grant made this trip possible. I participated in an International Faculty Development Seminar (IFDS) with the Council for International Educational Exchange led by Dr. Serigne Ndiaye in Dakar. Dr. Ndiaye organized the seminar around the topic of Islam in Senegal, bringing in top notch scholars from Dakar and the University of Gaston Berger from Saint-Louis (a city near the Mauritanian border). The seminar provided me and my four US-based colleagues with foundations for understanding the Sufi brotherhoods practicing Islam in Senegal. With Dr. Ndiaye’s purposeful planning, we visited several holy sites in Cambérène and Touba, and various Koranic/Qur’anic schools whose philosophies were as diverse as their resources (or lack thereof). Invited into several homes of these hard working people, I remain deeply moved by the warmth of the Senegalese and their genuine hospitality, or teranga (the Wolof word).