Great Mosque in Kilwa, Tanzania, by Prof Stéphane Pradines.
Running along the East African coast, Swahili mosques count among the best examples of Islamic architecture in Sub-Saharan Africa. The study of the Swahili architecture allows us to analyse the diffusion of ideas, people, and material cultures in the Indian Ocean, as well as to understand the role of Islam in the building of maritime regional identities, international trading networks, and urbanisation of the Swahili coast. The history of these monuments is supported by the archaeological work that has been carried out in East Africa over the course of the past twenty years. Among the most important sites, which are explored in this presentation, are Gedi in Kenya; Kilwa, Songo Mnara, Sanje ya Kati, and Kua in Tanzania; and Dembeni in Mayotte (Comoros).
An archaeologist and Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at the Aga Khan University's Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) in London. He served as Director of the excavations of the Fatimid and Ayyubid Walls of Cairo, as well as a number of other excavations in the Indian Ocean (Maldives) and East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Comoros). He is a specialist of medieval trade in the Indian Ocean and the material culture of war in Muslim Africa, especially arms and military architecture. His most recent book is entitled Historic Mosques in Sub-Saharan Africa, from Timbuktu to Zanzibar (Brill, 2021).
A free and open-access online platform of digital resources to aid the teaching of the history of Islamic art, architecture, and visual culture. Khamseen currently offers a collection of short-form video presentations on a range of topics in the scholarly discipline of Islamic art history.
These presentations are intended to support educators, particularly those who face limited access to institutional and archival resources. The project also aims to bring new voices, perspectives, methodologies, artworks, and objects into classrooms. Besides catering to undergraduate and graduate students, the materials provided here are also intended to help educate and inspire interested audiences outside of academia.