Zanzibar: Swahili Language and Culture in East Africa (Summer)

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As the crossroads of African, Persian, Arab, Indian, and European cultures for nearly two millennia, the islands of Zanzibar provide a unique setting in which to explore issues of religion, ethnicity, race, gender, class, and politics in East Africa. This program explores the history of Zanzibar as a center of international trade, slavery, and colonial expansion, the legacies of social division and political centralization left by colonial rule, and the ways in which Zanzibar’s experience differs from and interacts with the histories of Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya, and other neighboring states. Zanzibar is also an ideal setting for intensive study of Swahili, the most widely spoken African language. Students take one course on the political and cultural history of Zanzibar and East Africa as well as one Swahili language course. Excursions complement the curriculum and may include Dar es Salaam, Pemba Island, one of Tanzania’s national parks, and cultural and conservation sites on the island of Zanzibar and in mainland Tanzania, such as spice plantations and unique coastlines.


  • African Studies
  • Anthropology
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Religious Studies
  • Swahili


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