Annachiara Raia

Annachiara Raia is an Africanist specialised in Swahili Muslim intellectual traditions with a background in the languages, history and cultures of the Islamic countries. She has studied Classical Arabic, Swahili and Somali languages and literature at the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’ (Italy). She holds a PhD (2018 cum laude) in Literatures in African Languages and Asian, African and Mediterranean Studies, in cotutelle between the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’ and the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies at Bayreuth University (Germany). Since 2019 she is senior researcher and assistant professor in African Literature, both at the Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS) and the African Studies Centre in Leiden.



Her academic activities include not only teaching and conceptualising courses on African literature, postcolonial theories, oral traditions, Swahili libraries and heritage for the African Studies programmes, but also extensive archival and ethnographic research in East Africa with, artists, thinkers, librarians and family-run bookshops located in Kenya and Tanzania. 

Keywords: African-languages literatures, manuscript studies, digital archives, Islamic literary networks in Africa, orality and literacy, Swahili literature, Indian Ocean intellectual practices.

Fellow member
African Studies Centre Leiden
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