Faculty and Staff

Alamin Mazrui

Professor, Swahili Language and LiteratureProf. Alamin Mazrui

Email: amazrui@rci.rutgers.edu

Office:  15 Seminary Place Room 5120, College Avenue Campus

Office Hours:  By Appointment

Office Phone:  848-445-4312


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


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

My current research project focuses on (post)colonial translation in Africa and explores the political dynamics in the interplay between text and context in the Swahili experience. The range of topics includes the colonial politics of Bible and Qur’an translation, the impact of post-Cold War globalization on translations of the Qur’an, the discourse on alternative “African modernities”, especially in Tanzania, arising from the translation of the Finnish epic, The Kalevala, new American politics of translation in East Africa after 9/11, and cyber-translation in comparative African context.

I also have a special interest in human rights and civil liberties and have 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, 1999; Media Censorship in a Plural Context: A Report on the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation. London: Article 19 (International Centre against Censorship), 1998; Kayas Revisited: A Post-Election Balance Sheet. Nairobi (Kenya): Kenya Human Rights Commission, 1998; and Kayas of Deprivation, Kayas of Blood: Violence, Ethnicity and the State in Coastal Kenya. Nairobi (Kenya): Kenya Human Rights Commission, 1997.



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.


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, 2008: 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, 2007: 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.

AMESALL Courses (Past and Present)

  • Language and Society in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia
  • 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