An introduction to precolonial Swahili poetry

Seminar, SWS: 2, lecture number: 40240


Dienstag, 8-10;


Clarissa Vierke

Swahili has a long poetic and literary tradition, which has been relatively well documented. Before the era of colonialism and the introduction of Roman script, poets did not only pass on and perform their poetry orally, but also committed it to paper using Arabic script. Particularly in the 19th century, an elite of local scholars expressed their new East African identity in new verse patterns and poetic narratives. Lamu, in what is now northern Kenya, became a centre of poetic expression and manuscript production. The course offers an introduction to Swahili literary history mostly from the 18th to the 20th century. It gives an overview of common poetic genres and motifs, and introduces students to the literary language of the poems.

Given the current situation, this course will probably be given digitally. Please get in touch with the lecturer as soon as possible and, where applicable, register in E-Learning and CampusOnline.