Since the end of the Cold War, and especially since 9/11, religion has become an increasingly important factor of personal and group identification.
Based on an African case study, this book calls for new ways of thinking about diversity that go "beyond religious tolerance".
Focusing on the predominantly Muslim Yoruba town of Ede, the authors challenge the assumption that religious difference automatically leads to conflict: in south-west Nigeria, Muslims, Christians and traditionalists have co-existed largely peacefully since the early twentieth century.
In some contexts, Ede's citizens emphasise the importance and significance of religious difference, and the need for tolerance.
But elsewhere they refer to religious boundaries in passing, or even celebrate and transcend religious divisions. Drawing on detailed ethnographic and historical research, survey work, oral histories and poetry by UK- and Nigeria- based researchers, the book examines how Ede's citizens experience religious difference in their everyday lives.
It examines the town's royal history and relationship with the deity Sango, its old Islamic compounds and its Christian institutions, as well as marriage and family life across religious boundaries, to illustrate the multiplicity of religious practices in the life of the town and its citizens and to suggest an alternative approach to religious difference. Insa Nolte is Reader in African Studies at the University of Birmingham, and Visiting Research Professor at Osun State University, Osogbo.
She is President of the African Studies Association of the UK (2016-18) and Principal Investigator of the ERC project "Knowing Each Other: Everyday Religious Encounters, Social Identities and Tolerance in Southwest Nigeria".
Olukoya Ogen is Provost of Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo; Professor of History at Osun State University, Osogbo; and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham.
He is the Nigerian coordinator of the "Knowing Each Other" project.
Rebecca Jones is Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the "Knowing Each Other" project.
Her book, A Cultural History of Nigerian Travel Writing, will be published by James Currey in 2017. Nigeria: Adeyemi College Academic Press (paperback)