James de Vere Allen was Curator of the Lamu Museum.

Swahili Origins

Swahili Culture and The Shungwaya Phenomenon

By James de Vere Allen

Kiswahili has become the lingua franca of eastern Africa. Yet there can be few historic peoples whose identity is as elusive as that of the Swahili. Some have described themselves as Arabs, as Persians or even, in one place, as Portuguese. It is doubtful whether, even today, most of the people about whom this book is written would unhesitatingly and in all contexts accept the name Swahili. This book was central to the thought and lifework of the late James de Vere Allen.


Marriage by Force?
Contestation over Consent and Coercion in Africa
Despite international human rights decrees condemning it, marriage by force persists to this day. In this volume, the editors bring together legal scholars, anthropologists, historians, and development workers to explore the range of forced marriage practices in sub-Saharan Africa.


The Message of the City
Dawn Powell’s New York Novels, 1925–1962
Dawn Powell was a gifted satirist who moved in the same circles as Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, renowned editor Maxwell Perkins, and other midcentury New York luminaries. Her many novels are typically divided into two groups: those dealing with her native Ohio and those set in New York.


Viet Nam
Tradition and Change
An accessible and erudite primer on Vietnamese history and culture from one of Việt Nam’s finest minds.


The Bellwether
Why Ohio Picks the President
Every four years, Ohio finds itself in the thick of the presidential race. What about the Buckeye State makes it so special?


Ken Saro-Wiwa
A penetrating, accessible portrait of the activist whose execution galvanized the world.