THE AFRICAN ROOTS OF SWAHILI ONTOLOGY: AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE AFRICANITY & HISTORIOGRAPHY OF A COASTAL SOCIETY
Committee memberNehusi, Kimani S.K.
DepartmentAfrican American Studies
African American studies
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/8181
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AbstractFor decades, Swahili culture and society have been mischaracterized as an extension of Arabic cultural development. Within the last few decades scholars like Thomas Spear, Derek Nurse, and Chapurukha M. Kusimba have challenged Arabcentric and Eurocentric reductionist notions regarding the development of Swahili society. This dissertation traces the discourse of the historiographic discourse of Swahili culture and its impact on the way that the Swahili people, culture, and language are conceptualized. Furthermore, the research presented here is not solely focused on the material evidence of the development of African communities on the Swahili coast, but also on the ethical and cultural foundations of Bantu society manifested within Swahili society. The African ethics manifested in early Swahili society which still exists today illustrate a more nuanced understanding of the Africanity of coastal communities. As demonstrated by the traditional saying of Swahili communities, select folktales, and the construction of philosophical terminology, the ethics and cultural values of an African cultural paradigm. This idea of the essentiality of the African cultural paradigm to the foundation and development of Swahili culture is evidenced by the cross-cultural analysis of Swahili historical and cultural phenomena to other African communities.
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