Honors | Introduction to Swahili Literature and Culture
C400 | 1133 | J. Rollins

Section carries cultural studies credit
Section meets with C571

Class Meets:  MW 9:30-10:45   WY 111

*Course will be taught in English and knowledge of Kiswahili is not
required.  All works will be presented in both Kiswahili and English.

Occasionally, at wondrous times and places, some cultures – like the
Swahili – arise in spaces that are truly cross-cultural zones,
crossroads of connective values and shared histories of peoples
that, at certain transitional places, such as the confluence of
different traditions and civilizations, have produced a kind of
metaphoric – even shape changing – literatures.  These texts can act
as powerful “congeners” (See Hulme, Colonial Encounters and Maria
Warner’s The Making of Imperial Gothic) where one culture interacts
with and responds to another, often dissolving from view in the form
of its previously distinct idiom.  Acknowledged or unacknowledged by
each other, these energies cross boundaries and produce synergies
that invigorate a literature with a broader, deeper yet unique
culture that my be engagingly rewarding to unravel into its
component parts. Such is the case of Swahili Culture and its
Literature. Accordingly, this course will introduce students,
through the analysis of selected texts, how influence, reception,
movement (or period), and genre have all played a role in the
development of this unique African literature.

There will be no tests in the course. Two short essays and a
research paper will be required. Graduate students will be expected
to write a more ambitious research paper in consultation with the

Required Texts:  Course Reader (Available at Collegiate Copies)
Selections of Plays in Swahili
The Swahili:  Idiom and Identity of an African People, Alamin M.
Mazrui and Ibrahim Noor Shariff
Maisha ya Hamed bin Muhammed el-Murjebi yaani Tippu Tip,
Kimefasiriwa na W. H. Whitely
Poems from Kenya, Harris/Narsir
Muyaka bin Hajji, 19th Century Swahili Poet, Mohammed H. Abululaziz
By the Sea, Abdulrazak Gurnah
Swahili Proverbs, Albert Scheven