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RCGD/EHAP Winter Seminar Series: Religious Conversion in the Dogon of Mali

Maxwell Lemkau
Monday, February 19, 2024
2:00-3:30 PM
1430 Institute For Social Research Map
Religious Conversion in the Dogon of Mali
Monday, Feb. 19, 2024 (2 PM – 3:30 PM)

Maxwell Lemkau is an undergraduate at the University of Michigan interested in behavioral ecology and human behavior who is part of Beverly Strassmann’s lab, using evolutionary theory to study human behavior in the Dogon of Mali.

We investigated religious conversion in the Dogon of Mali, West Africa. The study population has been exposed to Islam and Christianity since the 1940s, and multiple religions (the traditional Dogon religion, Islam, and Christianity) coexist within the same villages and patrilineages. Among these three religions, the Dogon religion and Islam entailed greater participation expenses than did Christianity. Given that a man’s father practiced the traditional Dogon religion, what factors caused him to stay with his father’s religion or to adopt a new religion? Using individual-level data on 570 men from nine villages, we found that men from poorer families were more likely to adopt Christianity, while men from wealthier families chose Islam or stayed with the Dogon religion. We propose that costly expenses of a religious community provide a Dogon man with a group of reciprocators that is well-defined with explicit mechanisms to monitor reputation and avenues through which to promote and enhance his status. The extent that each religion incorporates expenses to achieve these benefits, however, have different tradeoffs to poorer and wealthier individuals.
If you would like to meet with the speaker, please click here to contact Erin Loomas.

The University of Michigan
Research Center for Group Dynamics

Institute for Social Research

© 2023 The Regents of the University of Michigan
Building: Institute For Social Research
Website:
Event Type: Workshop / Seminar
Tags: Africa, African Studies, Anthropology, Social Sciences, Sociology
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Research Center for Group Dynamics (RCGD), Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Institute for Social Research, Department of Anthropology, Department of Sociology, Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, Evolution & Human Adaptations Program (EHAP)