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Serena Talento Serena Talento
Serena Talento

Faculty of Languages & Literatures
Literatures in African Languages

Serena Talento has been assistant professor at the chair of Literatures in African Languages at the University of Bayreuth since 2015.

She studied African Languages, Literatures in African Languages and Translation Studies at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” (Italy). In addition, she furthered her academic training in Belgium and Zambia.

From October 2012 to July 2018 she was a Research Associate at the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS). In this framework, she wrote her PhD dissertation “Framing texts/framing social spaces: The conceptualisation of literary translation and its discourses in three centuries of Swahili literature”. In this work she studied the framing of translated (or assumedly translated) texts and views on literary translation into Swahili  in three different historical settings to explore how the discourse on translation correlates to the literary, historical and social field of reception.

Academic Degrees


Doctorate: African Studies, Bayreuth International School of African Studies (BIGSAS), University of Bayreuth; Disputation: July 2018 (Dr. phil. Summa cum laude); Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Said Khamis. Mentors: Prof. Dr. Clarissa Vierke, Prof. Dr. Paul F. Bandia. 


Master of Arts: Languages and Cultures of Africa, University of Naples “L’Orientale”.

2008 Bachelor of Arts: Languages and Cultures of Africa, University of Naples “L’Orientale”.

Professional Background

Since 2015 

Assistant professor at the chair of Literatures in African Languages

Since 2019

Research Associate of the University of the Free State


Co-editor of the Online Journal Swahili Forum, hosted by the University of Leipzig

Serena Talento

Faculty of Languages & Literatures
Literatures in African Languages

I am specialised in Swahili language and literature, with a focus on the history of literary exchanges from and into Swahili.

My research is embedded in a historical and sociological framework: I have widely worked on literary translation from the 18th to the present, and sharpened an eye on the social relevance of texts.

Research topics:

  • Literary exchanges from and into Swahili
  • Sociology of translation 
  • Comparative Literature with a focus on Africa
  • Cognitive Linguistics
  • Corpus Linguistics

Further information:

Serena Talento

Faculty of Languages & Literatures
Literatures in African Languages



Critical Swahili Studies. - Irene Brunotti, Serena Talento, Duncan Tarrant, Clarissa Vierke (Hrsg.). - Swahili Forum, 30 (2023), Special Issue

Irene Brunotti, Serena Talento, Duncan Tarrant, Clarissa Vierke: Introduction. In: Swahili Forum, 30 (2023). - S. 1-23.


Serena Talento: Literary Translation and Nation-Building in Post-Independence Tanzania. In: Christopher Rundle (Hrsg.): The Routledge Handbook of Translation History. - London : Routledge, 2022. - S. 337-352.

Serena Talento: On Pluralism and Relevance in World Literary Transfers: Some Reflections on the Mapping of Contemporary Swahili Literary Extranslations into Italian, English, and German.. In: Comparative Literature Studies, 59 (2022). - S. 727-748.


Serena Talento: Broadening latitudes : Mapping a sociological history of literary translation into Swahili. In: Judith Inggs, Ella Wehrmeyer (Hrsg.): African Perspectives on Literary Translation. - London ; New York : Routledge, 2021. - S. 53-72.

Serena Talento: Framing Texts/Framing Social Spaces : Conceptualising Literary Translation in three Centuries of Swahili Literature. - Köln : Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, 2021. - 408 S.


Serena Talento: The "Arabic story" and the Kingwana Hugo : a (too short) history of literary translation into Swahili. In: Flavia Aiello, Roberto Gaudioso (Hrsg.): Lugha na Fasihi : Scritti in onore e memoria di/Essays in honour and memory of Elena Bertoncini Zúbková. - Napoli : UniorPress, 2019. - S. 59-80.


Uta Reuster-Jahn, Serena Talento: Introduction. In: Swahili Forum, 25 (2018). - S. 1-15.

Serena Talento: Merging Heterodoxy and Orthodoxy in Swahili Verse Translations. In: Jacob S. D. Blakesley (Hrsg.): Sociologies of poetry translation : emerging perspectives. - London : Bloomsbury Academic, 2018. - S. 129-150.

Swahili Literature in Global Exchange : Translations, Translators and Trends. - Uta Reuster-Jahn, Serena Talento (Hrsg.). - Swahili Forum, 25 (2018), 195 S.


Serena Talento: Aiello, Flavia ; Gaudioso, Roberto (Hrsg.): Ushairi na uhuru : Poesie scelte di Abdilatif Abdalla e Euphrase Kezilahabi ; Mkusanyo wa tungo za Abdilatif Abdalla e Euphrase Kezilahabi. Napoli, 2017. In:Swahili Forum, 24, S. iv-vii: 2017

Serena Talento: The Discourse (and Silence) on Literary Translation into Swahili during British Rule : Translation as Deconsecration. In: Jacobus Marais, Ilse Feinauer (Hrsg.): Translation studies beyond the postcolony. - Newcastle upon Tyne : Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017. - S. 33-72.


Serena Talento: Consecration, Deconsecration, and Reconsecration : The Shifting Role of Literary Translation into Swahili. In: Abdel-Wahab Khalifa (Hrsg.): Translators have their say? : translation and the power of agency. - Zürich : LIT, 2014. - S. 42-64.

Serena Talento: Vennero da Shiraz in Persia : Discendenza shirazi in Africa orientale tra mito e storia. In: Afriche e Orienti, (2014). - S. 171-188.

Serena Talento: What Hands/Arms Can Say : A Corpus-Based Analysis of the Swahili Body-Part Terms Mkono and Mikono. In: Matthias Brenzinger, Iwona Kraska-Szlenk (Hrsg.): The body in language : comparative studies of linguistic embodiment. - Leiden : Brill, 2014. - S. 260-283.


Serena Talento: Of Presences/Absences, Identity and Power : The Ideological Role of Translation into Swahili during Late Pre-colonial and Early Colonial Times. In: Swahili Forum, 20 (2013). - S. 85-101.

Serena Talento: Polenta e Uova. (Rezension von: "Mulokozi, Mugyabuso M.: "Polenta e Uova" traduzione di Elena Bertoncini Zúbková della poesia "Sima na Mayai"") In:Africa e Mediterraneo, 79, S. 95-95: 2013

Serena Talento

Faculty of Languages & Literatures
Literatures in African Languages

Serena Talento
Research Assistant, Literatures in African Languages

University of Bayreuth 
Literatures in African languages 
95440 Bayreuth 
Room: 17 (B III)

Phone: +49 (0)921 / 55-5368
E-mail: serena.talento@uni-bayreuth.de

Webmaster: Olutosin Akinwumi

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