Illinois Wesleyan University Swahili Expressive Arts Collection (Illinois Wesleyan University)
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About this Collection

Collection Description

The Swahili Expressive Arts collection represents the research and scholarship of Professor Rebecca Gearhart, Ph.D., Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Illinois Wesleyan University. Professor Gearhart has worked with members of the community of Lamu, Kenya for twenty years and for this collection she has selected images that represent aspects of Swahili ceremonial life on the northern coast of Kenya. The Swahili Expressive Arts collection may be used as a reference for student and scholar research on some of the Sufi-inspired practices that contemporary Swahili communities in the Lamu archipelago and adjacent mainland carry on into the present. For an in-depth examination of Swahili music and dance (ngoma) traditions, please read: Ngoma Memories: How Ritual Music and Dance Shaped the Northern Kenya Coast. Four Days for the Prophet provides a viewer's perspective of the Maulidi festival in Lamu, Kenya. For more information about Professor Gearhart's work, please visit her SelectedWorks page. For more information about the collection, please see the 2007 news story by the IWU Office of Communications. We hope that the Swahili Expressive Arts collection serves as a starting point for student and scholar research, and that Professor Gearhart's photographs and stories inspire others to explore and appreciate African societies in new ways.

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