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SWAH 3020 / AFST 3020 / CMLT 3020

Swahili Studies II
Course Time: 
TR 11:12:15
3 hours
Spring 2014 Information: 

Is there such a thing as Swahili culture? How does the Swahili language manifest the culture of its people? How has the indigenous Swahili culture remained unchanged and which areas have changed over the years? What influenced the Swahili culture? Can we find any scientific evidences through archival materials, narratives from Swahili speaking countries that show what that culture is and the effects of external influences on the native Swahili culture? Such are questions we will explore in this thought provoking class. Through discussions of literary texts about the Swahili language and its speakers, we will look at Swahili culture in contemporary literary texts. In small groups, students will read novels from the target country; investigate selected documents, and examine reports on archival materials to learn ways in which the Swahili indigenous culture has been influenced by external forces. Occasionally, we will also watch videos/films to illustrate key issues covered. The course will take a discussion mode; students will be assigned specific texts, present and lead class discussions. This course will shed light, challenge, dispel and expand dominant perspectives regarding the Swahili culture. You will be intrigued, enlightened and amazed by Swahili culture.

You DON’T need to speak or to have taken any Swahili language class to take this course.

Course reading:

Strobel, M., & Mirza, S. (1999). Three Swahili Women: Life Histories from Mombasa, Kenya; Maathai, W. (2006). Ubowed: A memoir. Knopf publication; Mazrui A. (2007). Swahili beyond the boundaries: Literature, Language and Identity. Ohio University Press; and an upcoming publication to be announced

For more information, please contact Dr. Dainess Maganda (

Course Description: 

An exploration of Swahili culture in contemporary literary texts; a discussion on how literary texts about the Swahili language and its speakers are used to manifest the culture and how external influences affect the indigenous Swahili culture. Readings of novels from the target country, documents, and other archival materials will be expected of the students.

Grading System: 
A-F (Traditional)
Oasis Title: 
Swahili Studies II

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