Dr. Irene Brunotti

Dr. Irene Brunotti

Lecturer (LfbA)

Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum
Beethovenstraße 15, Room 2203
04107 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97-37033
Fax: +49 341 97-37048


I am the lecturer for Swahili Language and Swahili Studies at the Institute of African Studies (University of Leipzig). As a “Swahili Studies” scholar researched and published on digital publics, I have worked on a publication project on Swahili poetry and knowledge production, and I am currently working on a project within urban studies with a focus on Zanzibar City.

Professional career

  • since 05/2011
    University of Leipzig, Institute of African Studies, Leipzig: Lecturer for Swahili language and Swahili Studies.
  • 09/2015
    University of Cagliari, Department of Social Sciences and Institutions: Visiting professor, Swahili Language and Swahili Studies (within the project: Africa in Motion).
  • 12/2010 - 02/2011
    University of Lagon, Accra: Lecturer for Swahili language and literature
  • 09/2005 - 09/2007
    University of Studies of Naples "L'Orientale", DSRAPA, Naples: fixed-term lecturer for Swahili language, literature and culture.


  • 03/2002 - 03/2005
    University of Studies of Naples "L'Orientale": PhD in African Studies.
  • 09/1994 - 03/1999
    University of Studies of Naples "L'Orientale": Corso di Laurea (Magister) in Oriental Languages and Civilization – African Studies.
  • Doing the City. Socio-Spatial Navigation in Urban Africa
    Beck, Rose Marie
    Duration: 11/2017 - 10/2020
    Funded by: DFG Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Afrikanistik
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  • Baada ya Kimbunga, Shuwari. Ushairi wa mtungaji Haji Gora Haji - After the hurricane, the calm. The poetry of Haji Gora Haji
    Brunotti, Irene
    Duration: 02/2016 - 08/2017
    Funded by: Stiftungen Inland
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Afrikanistik
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more projects

  • Brunotti, I.
    "Cyberbaraza: sociability and identity (trans)formations in contemporary Zanzibar"
    In: Aiello, F.; Gaudioso, R. (Eds.)
    Napoli, Italien: UNIOR, Series Minior. 2019. p. 192
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  • Brunotti, I.
    From baraza to cyberbaraza: interrogating publics in the context of the 2015 Zanzibar electoral impasse
    Journal of Eastern African Studies. 2019. 13 (1: Publics in Africa in a Digital Age ). pp. 18-34
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  • Brunotti, I.
    'Sauti ya Kisonge': images and imaginaries debated on the cyberbaraza
    Africa e Mediterraneo . 2017. 87 (Dossier: Africa narrates itself: media, opinions, influential figures). pp. 7-15
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  • Brunotti, I.
    Kifusi: Towards an Ethnography of Rubble
    Stichproben. Vienna Journal of African Studies. 2021. 21 (41/2021). pp. 63-82
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  • Brunotti, I.
    Mapitio: Swahili Muslim Publics and Postcolonial Experience. Kai Kresse. 2018. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. (2020)
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more publications

  • Swahili I-II

    The courses cover the basic grammatical knowledge and the acquisition of a vocabulary of about 1000 words (daily language practice), taking into account the sociocultural specificities of East Africa. Reading, speaking and writing activities are meant to foster basic communication skills, acquired with the support of a variety of media (including audio-video material, literature, songs, and alike).

  • Swahili III-IV

    These modules comprise a Übung, aimed at the in-depth acquisition of oral and written language skills, and a seminar "Swahili in the world, the world in Swahili I or II", with the possibility to focus on language, literature, culture or historical, cultural, political and economic peculiarities of the Swahili-speaking East Africa. "Swahili in the world, the world in Swahili I and II" deal with the Swahili language, literature, media, culture and history from a cultural-scientific perspective.

  • Swahili Studies I and II

    • Postcolonialism (ubaadaukoloni)
    • Contemporary debates (mijadala ya kisasa)
    • Identities, modernities and authenticities
    • Urbanity and urbanization in East Africa
    • Journalism and the Journalistic scape in/across East Africa
    • Islam in/across East Africa
    • Performance and performativity in Eats Africa
    • Swahili Literature and the literary context in East Africa
    • Nataka nikuchukue senema
    • Taarifa ya habari leo
    • Reading Swahili literature - novel, fiction, drama and ICTs
  • Swahli Advanced I (MA)

    As part of the module East African Studies, the course aims at supporting (and partly re-focusing) the topic chosen in the common Seminar:

    • the study project Megalopolis – voices from Kinshasa through a Swahili perspective.
    • contemporary East African cities: to familiarize students with the urban milieu in East Africa, exploring the dynamic ways East African cities actually work.
    • East Africa in the movies - Swahili movies, through watching, discussing, interpreting and understanding them.
  • Swahili Advanced II (MA)

    • Masimulizi ya Kiswahili Afrika ya Mashariki na ughaibuni (Swahili narratives across and beyond East Africa)
    • Ukoloni mamboleo na mijadala ya Ubadaukoloni (Neocolonialism and Postcolonial Debates)
    • Fasihi ya Kiswahili (Swahili literature)
    • Urban Africa
  • Urban Africa (MA)

    This seminar provides a general introduction to the study of urban Africa in its historical, spatial and social dimensions, emphasizing their global interconnectedness. Based on research on African cities, which contributes conceptually and theoretically to the urban, the module covers a broad survey of contemporary themes in urban Africa, approaches and methodologies. A major focus will be on the diverse expressions of “being urban”, “doing the city” as a form of socio-spatial navigation.

  • Language for Research I ad II - Swahili (MA)

    Taking into account the students' research interests, the seminars open up a unique perspective on various scientific contexts in Swahili language. By using different materials and texts in Swahili, students will develop individual strategies for the development of their own research projects. The seminars give the students the opportunity to think of and use Swahili language in a variety of activities including composing questionnaire or practicing the language as in a field research.