Transoceanic print histories: twentieth-century Swahili Muslim networks in the Indian Ocean

TitleTransoceanic print histories: twentieth-century Swahili Muslim networks in the Indian Ocean
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsA. Raia
Secondary TitleIslamic Africa
Volumeahead of print
Date Published2023
Publication Languageeng
ISSN Number0803-0685
KeywordsAdam traders, book publishing, Indian Ocean, Kenya, printing industry, Swahili, Swahili Muslim networks

At a time of sociocultural changes that started questioning established Islamic learning traditions (independence years, post-Cold War/book market liberalization), printing diasporas exerted influence on the circulation of Islamic texts in East Africa: published overseas (Cairo, Beirut, and the Indian subcontinent) and/or locally reprinted on the Swahili-speaking Islamic coast, they came to play a seminal role in negotiating Swahili Muslim literary culture. How have transoceanic religious and intellectual networks operating beyond national borders become intertwined? In this paper, the beginnings of Swahili Muslim book publishing—and the entities underpinning it, such as Nairobi’s Islamic Foundation Center, a Pakistani-oriented charitable foundation—will be outlined. I will then delve into the history of Indian-and-Swahili family-run publishers Adam Traders based in Mombasa in order to tackle hitherto neglected transoceanic connections and patterns of influence across the sea.


Transoceanic Print Histories: Twentieth-Century Swahili Muslim Networks in the Indian Ocean in: Islamic Africa - Ahead of print (

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