University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Oludamini Ogunnaike

Associate Professor of African Religious Thought and Democracy, Religious Studies

Gibson 438


Dreaming Sufism in the Sokoto Caliphate: Dreams and Knowledge in African Islamic Philosophy


My research examines the philosophical and artistic dimensions of postcolonial, colonial, and pre-colonial Islamic and indigenous religious traditions of West and North Africa, especially Sufism and Ifa. My research falls into two general areas: a) the intellectual history and literary studies of the Islamic and indigenous traditions of West Africa, and b) employing the insights and ideas from these traditions to contribute to contemporary philosophical debates relevant to a variety of disciplines.

I am the author of Deep Knowledge: Ways of Knowing in Sufism and Ifa, Two West African Intellectual Traditions (Penn State University Press, 2020), winner of the Outstanding First Book Prize of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD)  and Poetry in Praise of Prophetic Perfection: West African Madīḥ Poetry and its Precedents (Islamic Texts Society, 2020). 

Funded by a grant from the Templeton Project, and in collaboration with colleagues I've recently begun a project on Sufi poetry and poetic knowledge, and am working on manuscripts on Yoruba mythology, Islamic philosophy in pre-colonial West Africa, and Afro-Carribbean and African Islamic decolonial thought and praxis.