Friederike Wilkening

Who is J.W.T. Allen?

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Kurzfassung in Englisch

At a first glance it may seem strange that a man who probably was the European scholar of Swahili with the longest association with the Swahili Coast should have had so little impact on the field of Swahili studies, at least regarding his reception in the literature of the discipline. Obviously there must be something marginal to his position in the academic world of both his and our days, which appears to draw mainly from two factors. On the one hand, John Allen spent most of his professional life `on location`in the Swahili sphere and some other parts of the Muslim world, but hardly ever was present in Europe and its academic institutions or publications so that he was simply physically outside the central circles of scholarly discourse. On the other hand, his main interest was a subject rather marginal within European Swahili studies, dealing with the traditional literature, moreover in a philological approach.
Alien`s love of literature was also an important impetus for his long involvement in language development - especially as he regarded it in the first place in terms of art and only secondly in terms of `information´ about cultural or historical matters. As a promoter of Swahili literature, especially in connection with the East Aftican Swahili Committee, he probably got more widely known than for his contributions to research. However, this practical dimension of Allen`s work can not be separated from his studies in literature, and the mutuality of the two fields of activity is to be shown in this article which can hardly more than touch upon central aspects of his work and its significance for the discipline.

weitere Metadaten

Erschienen in Swahili-Forum - 7.2000
Swahili, Forschung, Swahili Literatur, J.W.T. Allen
Swahili, research, Swahili literature, J.W.T. Allen
SWD SchlagworteSwahili, Außereuropäische Literaturen, Wissenschaftler
DDC Klassifikation496
Beteiligte Institution(en) 
HochschuleGoethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
FakultätInstitut für Afrikanistik
HochschuleUniversität zu Köln
FakultätInstitut für Afrikanistik
Veröffentlichungsdatum (online)09.08.2012
persistente URNurn:nbn:de:bsz:15-qucosa-91820
QuelleSwahili Forum 7 (2000), S. 237-258

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