Youssef J.Carter

As an anthropologist of religion, Youssef is interested in the manner in which religious discourses and movements become oriented in the direction of abolition. He is fascinated with how Muslims in the United States and in West Africa interpret their religion as a means of empowerment in the face of oppression while relying on scripture and prophetic narration to navigate hostile political realities.

This led him to work on a book called, “The Vast Oceans: Remembering God and Self on the Mustafawi Sufi Path” which is a multisite ethnography of a transatlantic spiritual network of African-American and West African Sufis that deploy West African spiritual training to navigate historical-political contexts in the U.S. South and beyond.

He is also the chief editor for a multi-volume work entitled, “Servant of the Messenger: The Spiritual Life of Shaykh Ahmad Bamba Mbacke”— Authored entirely by his great-grandson, Shaykh Moustapha Mbacke, the series is written for those who are more inclined to the inner life of sainthood. Using declassified colonial documents as well as original writings of Shaykh Ahmad Bamba. In addition to the family narrative, the work provides an unprecedented spiritual biography of a visionary who sparked the Murid movement in Senegal and around the world.

For the past few years, he has also led a small editorial team for an online magazine project, Voyages Africana Journal. Part journal, online magazine, and blog, Voyages is a visual and literary space that serves as a creative educational and cultural tool for students and lovers of the Africana World. In addition to these projects and others, Youssef serves as an advisory board member of the ‘After Malcolm Digital Archive’, sponsored in part by the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University, which chronicles the oral histories of African-American Muslims and serves as a repository for digitized historical documents, newspapers, and memorabilia related to their involvement in the Black Freedom Struggle from 1965 onward.


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