• E-mailanne.bang@uib.no
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My research interest is in the Islamic history of the Western Indian Ocean in the 19thand 20thcenturies, including Yemen, Oman, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. My work has mainly focused on various forms of religious change (text/book circulation, reforms of ritual- and teaching practices), but also social, legal and political change. My work has been mainly been based on Arabic sources, combined with field work. I have also conducted projects for the digitizing and conservation of manuscripts and texts which are in private ownership and in danger of environmental degradation. 


This project digitised the manuscript collection held at the Riyadha mosque in Lamu, Kenya. The Riyadha mosque college was founded in the late 19th century and is one of the oldest continuously functioning Islamic teaching institutions in East Africa. The digitised collection consist of 145 items dating from the 19th and 20th centuries. 





This project digitised the early printed materials contained in the library of the late Zanzibari scholar, Maalim Muhammad Idris (d.2012). The collection is a "snapshot" of an intellectual tradition in transition and a cross-section of an emerging Islamic print tradition in East Africa.

An introduction to the collection and information about the project can be found here (in Norwegian): 











2022: Arabic‐language manuscript and print as a source for Indian Ocean Islamic history: The case of East Africa. History Compass. https://doi.org/10.1111/hic3.12713


2021: “The “travelling scholar” in African Islamic traditions. Local, regional and global worlds”, in: T. Østebø (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Islamic Africa, London: Routledge, 2021. 


2019: “Islamic Incantations in a Colonial Notebook. A case from Interwar Zanzibar”, Cahiers d’Études Africaines, LIX (4), 236, 2019, 1025-1046. 


2019: “Hadramis in Africa.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. Oxford University Press. Article published March 2019. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190277727.013.324.

2017: “Islam in the Swahili World”. In: La Violette & S. Wynn-Jones, The Swahili World, London: Routledge, 2017, 557-565. 

 2015: “Localizing Islamic Knowledge: Acquisition and Copying in the Riyadha Mosque Manuscript Collection in Lamu, Kenya”, in: Maja Kominko (ed.), From Dust to Digital. Ten Years of the Endangered Archives Programme, London, 55-88.

2014: Islamic Sufi Networks in the Southwestern Indian Ocean (c. 1880-1940). Ripples of Reform. Monograph, 227 pages, Leiden (Brill).

 2014: “The Ḥaḍramaut in Lamu. The manuscript collection of the Riyadha mosque of Lamu, Kenya”, Journal of Islamic Manuscripts, special issue (ed. A. Regourd), Manuscripts of Yemen, circulation of ideas and models, Vol 5:2-3, 125-153.

2014: “The Norway-East Africa Trading Company in Zanzibar, 1895-1925. Business communication in colonial times”, In: K. A. Kjerland & B. Bertelsen (eds.), Navigating colonial orders. Norwegian Entrepreneurship in Africa and Oceania, Berghahn Books.

2013: “Danish and Norwegian travel accounts of Oman, 1765-1995: Changing views across land and sea”. In: M. Hoffmann-Ruf & A.R. al-Salimi (eds.), The Ibadism of Oman. Its overseas Development and its Perception Overseas, Tübingen (Georg Olms Verlag), Germany, 403-410.

2012: “Zanzibari Islamic knowledge transmission revisited: Loss, lament, legacy, transmission – and transformation”, Journal of Social Dynamics, 38:3, 419-434.

2012: “Remembrance of Maalim Muhammad Idris Muhammad Saleh”, Islamic Africa, 3:2.

2012: “Cultural Heritage and Social Context. Research and Management in Post-Colonial Mozambique,” In: T. Halvorsen & P. Vale (eds.), One world, many knowledges. Regional experiences and cross-regional links in higher education, Sanord, 249-264. With Tore Sætersdal.

2011: “Authority and Piety, Writing and Print. A preliminary study of Islamic texts in late 19th and early 20th century Zanzibar”, Africa, 81, 63-81.



MPrinT@EAST_AFRICA. Islamic Manuscript, Print and Practice: Textual adaptations in coastal East Africa, c. 1880-2020

Project funding: Norwegian Research Council, ground-breaking research.



This project will examine the use of text on the East African (Swahili) coast during the manuscript-to-print transition (c. 1880-1950) and the onwards lives of these texts from c. 1950 until the present.We will examine editorial choices and investigate the ways in which manuscripts and print texts continued their social lives as recited words. By combining bibliographical studies of “street texts” (smaller texts, often prayers and litanies) and mapping the continuous re-interpretation of these texts in the form of communal recitation, this project will illuminate the heretofore overlooked continuity between manuscript and print. In so doing, the project will challenge the existing understanding of “traditional” Islam and “global” Islam as fundamentally opposite.



The Invisible Ceiling. Muslim entrepeneurs navigate the Norwegian financial environment. 

Project funding: Norwegian Research Council. Project located at Chr. Michelsen Institute




Cabo Delgado. Conflict, Resilience and Reconstruction. 

Project Funding: Norwegian Research Council. Project located at Chr. Michelsen Institute