• Alamin Mazrui
  • Alamin Mazrui
  • Professor, Sociolinguistics and Cultural Studies
  • Phone: 848-445-4312
  • Room #: 5120
  • Office address: 15 Seminary Place, College Avenue Campus
  • Education:

    Ph.D. Linguistics (Stanford)
    M.Ed. Language Education (Rutgers)
    B.Sc. Biology (Rutgers)

  • Areas of Research/Interest:

    Political sociology of language in Africa and the African Diaspora; African literature in English and Swahili; Politics of cultural production in Africa; Cultural discourses on human rights in Africa; Islam and Identity in Africa and the African Diaspora.

    Mazrui’s current research project focuses on the impact of neoliberalism and the new imperial order on the constellation of languages in Africa. Provisionally entitled Language and the Neoliberal Order: East Africa in a Global Context, this is an empirical study of the topic, centered primarily on Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. The study looks at how the linguistic landscape in these nations has been and continues to be reconfigured by the politico-economic and ideological shift to a new political order – post-Ujamaa in the case of Tanzania -- under the impetus of World Bank and IMF-induced liberalization policies.

    Mazrui also has a special interest in human rights and civil liberties and has written policy reports on these subjects, including: Banditry and the Politics of Citizenship: The Case of the Galje’el of Tana River. Mombasa (Kenya): Muslims for Human Rights; Media Censorship in a Plural Context: A Report on the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation. London: Article 19 (International Centre against Censorship); Kayas Revisited: A Post-Election Balance Sheet. Nairobi (Kenya): Kenya Human Rights Commission; and Kayas of Deprivation, Kayas of Blood: Violence, Ethnicity and the State in Coastal Kenya. Nairobi (Kenya): Kenya Human Rights Commission.

  • Books

    Editor (with Kimani Njogu). Countering Violent Extremism in Kenya: Between the Rule of Law and the Quest for Security. Nairobi: Twaweza Communications, 2018

    Cultural Politics of Translation: East Africa in a Global Context. New York: Routledge, 2016

    Swahili beyond the Boundaries: Literature, Language and Identity. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007.

    (With Kimani Njogu). Sudana (A Swahili Play). Nairobi (Kenya): Longhorn, 2006. [Awarded the 2008 Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature, 3rd Place, in the Category of Swahili Adult Fiction].

    Editor (With Willy Mutunga), Debating the African Condition: Volume 1: Race, Gender and Culture Conflict, and Volume 2: Governance and Leadership Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2004.

     English in Africa: After the Cold War. Clevedon (UK): Multilingual Matters, 2004.

     Editor (With Francois Grignon and Marcel Rutten), Out for the Count: The 1997 General Elections and Prospects for Democracy in Kenya.  Kampala: Fountain Publishers, 2001.

     (With Ali A. Mazrui). The Power of Babel: Language and Governance in the African Experience. London: James Currey; Chicago: University of Chicago Press and Cape Town (South Africa): David Philip, 1998.



    Geographic and Demographic Expansion of Swahili. Eds. Salikoko Mufwene and Anna Maria Escobar, The Cambridge Handbook of Language Contact. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press (Forthcoming)

    Qur’an Translation. Ed. Mona Baker, Routledge Handbook of Translation Studies. London: Routledge, 2019: 463-469

    Sociocultural and Political Settings of Language in Africa. Ed. Ekkehard Wolff, The Cambridge Handbook of African Linguistics. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019: 419-441

    (Co-authored with Kimani Njogu). Language Policy in African Higher Education: Between Dependency and Decolonization. Eds. Rajmund Mesthrie and David Bradley, The Dynamics of Language. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press, 2019: 264-279

    Cold War Translation: Reception and Responses. Eds. J. Marais and A.E. Feinauer, Translation Studies beyond the Post-Colony. Newcastle upon Tyne (UK): Cambridge Scholars Press, 2017: 73-93

    Fanon in the East African Experience: Between English and Swahili Translations. Eds. Kathryn Batchelor and Sue-Ann Harding, Translation and Liberation: Frantz Fanon across Continents and Languages. Oxford (UK): Routledge, 2017: 76-97

    The Arabic Stimulus to the Swahili Language: A (Post)Colonial Balance Sheet. JULACE: Journal of the University of Namibia Language Center, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2017: 51-67.

    The Indian Experience as a Swahili Mirror in Colonial Mombasa: The Ambiguous Position of Sheikh Al-Amin Bin Ali Mazrui. African and Asian Studies, Vol 16, No. 1-2, 2017: 167-187.

    The English Language in the African Context: Between Expansion and Resistance. Eds. Pauline Bunce, Robert Phillipson, Vaughan Rapatahana, Ruanni Tupas, Confronting the English Hydra. Clevedon (UK): Multilingual Matters, 2015: 20-35

    Transcultural Politics of Translation: Imperial Inscriptions/African Appropriations. Eds. Ghirmae Negash, Andrea Frohne and Samuel Zadi, At the Crossroads: Readings of the Postcolonial and the Global in African Literature and Visual Art.  Trenton: Africa World Press, 2014: 47-69.

    Language and Education in Kenya: Between the Colonial Legacy and then New Constitutional Order. Ed. James W. Tollefson, Language Policies in Education: Critical Issue, Second Edition. New York: Routledge, 2013: 139-155.

    Translation in the Cyberspace: Between English and Kiswahili in East Africa. Ed. Tongtip Poonlarp. Translation and Interpretation in a Multilingual Context. Bangkok, The Chalermprakiat Center of Translation and Interpretation, Chulalangkorn University, 2011: 94-111.

    Language and the Media in Africa: Between the Old Empire and the New. Eds. Kimani Njogu and John Middleton, Media and Identity in Africa. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press/London: International Africa Institute, 2010: 36-49.

    Globalization and the Sociolinguistics of the Internet: Between English and Kiswahili. Eds. Cécile B. Vigouroux and Salikoko S. Mufwene, Globalization and language vitality: Perspectives from Black Africa. London: Continuum Press, 2009: 191-209.

    Africa in America’s “War on Terrorism”: Some Political Implications. Eds. Wafula Okumu and Anneli Botha, Understanding Terrorism in Africa: In Search of an African Voice. Pretoria (South Africa): Institute of Security Studies, 2008: 67-77.

    A Sociolinguistics of “Double-Consciousness”: English and Ethnicity in the Black Experience. Eds. Catherine Evans Davies and Janina Brutt-Griffler, English and Ethnicity. New York: Palgrave, 2007: 49-74.

    Globalization and Some Linguistic Dimensions of Human Rights in Africa.  Eds. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza and Phil McConnauhay, Human Rights and Development in Africa. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004: 52-70.

    Beyond Appropriation: Language, Knowledge and Discourse in the African Context.  Ed. Zine Magubane, Postmodernism, Postcoloniality and African Studies. Trenton (NJ): Africa World Press, 2003: 101-133.

    Globalization and the Muslim World: Sub-Saharan Africa in a Comparative Context. Ed. Lawford Imunde, Die Rolle der Zivilgesellschaft und der Religion bei der Demokratisierung Afrikas. Loccumer Protokolle 55/00, Rehburg-Loccum (Germany): Loccum Akademie, 2003: 209-228.

    Secrets: Somali Dispersal and Reinvented Identities. Ed. Derek Wright, New Perspectives on Nuruddin Farah.  Trenton (NJ): Africa World Press, 2002: 615-636.

    Ein neues Paradigma fur die Bildung in Afrika. (Education and Intellectual (Re)production in Africa: Towards a Paradigm Shift). Entwicklungspolitk,, 12, June 2002: 38-43.

    The English Language and Education in Africa: Beyond Decolonization. Ed. Jim Tollefson, Language Policies in Education: Critical Issues. Mahwah (NJ): Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002: 267-281.

    Blood on the Ballot: Ethnic Voices and Trans-ethnic Voting at the Kenya Coast.  Eds. Francois Grignon, Marcel Rutten and Alamin Mazrui, Out for the Count: The 1997 General Elections and Prospects for Democracy in Kenya.  Kampala: Fountain Publishers, 2001: 275-295.

    Socialist Oriented Literature in Postcolonial Africa. Eds. Cheryl B. Mwaria, Silvia Federici and Joseph McLaren, African Visions: Literary Images, Political Change and Social Struggle in Contemporary Africa. Westport (CT): Praeger, 2000: 219-232.

    The World Bank, the Language Question and the Future of African Education. Race and Class, Volume 38, No. 3, 1997: 35-48.

    Shakespeare in Africa: Between English and Swahili Literature. Research in African Literatures. Volume 27, No. 1, Spring 1996: 64-79.

    Language Policy and the Foundations of Democracy: An African Perspective. International Journal of the Sociology of Language (Special Issue on Political Theory and Language Planning), No. 118, 1996: 108-124.

    Mapping Islam in Farah’s Maps. Ed. Kenneth Harrow, The Marabout and the Muse: New Approaches to Islam in African Literature. Portsmouth (NH): Heinemann, 1996: 205-218.

    Ethnicity, Pluralism and the Politicization of Religion in Kenya. Journal of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, Volume 14, Nos. 1&2, 1993: 191-201.

    Relativism, Universalism and the Language of African Literature. Research in African Literatures, Volume 23, No. 1, Spring 1992: 65-75.

  • Courses:
    • Language and Society in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia
    • Cultural Forces in International Politics
    • Islam and African Literature
    • Political Thought in African Literature
    • African Literature of South Asian Expression
    • Crossroads: Classical Literatures of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia
    • Seminar in Literature and Society