Department of Religion
Areas of Specialization: Islam in West Africa, the anthropology of religion, ethnography and historiography in West Africa
Benedikt Pontzen is an anthropologist working on religion(s) in West Africa and has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Ghana. He holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Freie Universität Berlin with a thesis on everyday Islam among Muslims in Asante. In his current project, he focuses on “African Traditional Religion” and its surrounding debates. His research interests include the ethnography and historiography of West Africa, especially Asante, the anthropology of religion, especially of Islam and “African Traditional Religion”, magic, and spirit possession.
He has published several essays on everyday Islam in Asante and is currently finishing an ethnography on this topic. In a recent article, he describes and analyzes the processes by which certain actors become acknowledged as “Speaking for Islam” by their audiences.