SOAS University of London

Professor Marloes Janson releases her new book ‘Crossing Religious Boundaries: Islam, Christianity, and 'Yoruba Religion' in Lagos, Nigeria’

17 June 2021

Marloes Janson, Professor of West African Anthropology has released her new book  ‘Crossing Religious Boundaries: Islam, Christianity, and 'Yoruba Religion' in Lagos, Nigeria’. 

In this book, Marloes Janson offers a rich ethnography of religions, religious pluralism and practice in Lagos, analysing how so-called 'religious shoppers' cross religious boundaries, and the coexistence of different religious traditions where practitioners engage with these simultaneously. Prompted to develop a broader conception of religion that shifts from a narrow analysis of religious traditions as mutually exclusive, Janson offers a perspective that focuses on the complex dynamics of their actual entanglements. Including real-life examples to illustrate religion in Lagos through religious practice and lived experiences, this study takes account of the ambivalence, inconsistency and unpredictability of lived religion, proposing assemblage as an analytical frame for exploring the conceptual and methodological possibilities that may open as a result.

Birgit Meyer of Utrecht University has endorsed the book, stating:

'Written from the hustle of life in Lagos where 'everything is possible', this evocative book opens up new possibilities for research on religion in plural settings. Grounded in a series of fantastic case studies of 'Chrislam' and other instances of religious mixing, Janson

offers a fresh conceptual framework for studying the interactions of Christians, Muslims and traditionalists. Taking relationality as default, she proposes new inroads for our understanding of religious plurality from the angle of assemblage.' 

Asonzeh Ukah of the University of Cape Town said: 

'For anyone interested in the meaning, value and transformation of religion in urban centres such as Lagos in Nigeria, this is an extraordinarily important and insightful text. With considerable breadth and theoretical depth, Janson lucidly weaves together a deeply captivating range of insights of how urban religions intersect with the everyday lives and practices of people in Africa's largest urban sprawl.'

The book is available now from Cambridge University Press.