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African Linguistics and Literatures

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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

Since May 2021

Affiliate to the Tsikinya-Chaka Centre, the University of the Witwatersrand


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



Talento, Serena
Framing Texts/Framing Social Spaces : Conceptualising Literary Translation in three Centur ...
Köln : Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, 2021. - 408 pp. . - (Verbal Art and Documentary Literature in African Languages; 42) (Wortkunst und Dokumentartexte in afrikanischen Sprachen ; 42)
https://www.koeppe.de/titel_framing-texts-framing- ...

Editorial work for a series or a journal

Swahili Forum
publ: Talento, Serena

Complete issue of a journal

Critical Swahili Studies
publ: Brunotti, Irene; Talento, Serena; Tarrant, Duncan; Vierke, Clarissa
Swahili Forum vol. 30 (2023) issue Special Issue
https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:bsz:15-qucosa ...

Swahili Literature in Global Exchange : Translations, Translators and Trends
publ: Reuster-Jahn, Uta; Talento, Serena
Swahili Forum vol. 25 (2018) . - 195 pp.
http://afrikanistik.gko.uni-leipzig.de/swafo/index ...

Article in a journal (peer-reviewed)

Brunotti, Irene; Talento, Serena; Tarrant, Duncan; Vierke, Clarissa
in Swahili Forum vol. 30 (2023) . - pp. 1-23
https://www.gkr.uni-leipzig.de/en/swahili-forum/th ...

Talento, Serena
On Pluralism and Relevance in World Literary Transfers: Some Reflections on the Mapping of ...
in Comparative Literature Studies vol. 59 (2022) issue 4. - pp. 727-748
doi:10.5325/complitstudies.59.4.0727 ...

Reuster-Jahn, Uta; Talento, Serena
in Swahili Forum vol. 25 (2018) . - pp. 1-15
http://ul.qucosa.de/api/qucosa%3A35194/attachment/ ...

Talento, Serena
Vennero da Shiraz in Persia : Discendenza shirazi in Africa orientale tra mito e storia
in Afriche e Orienti (2014) issue 3. - pp. 171-188

Talento, Serena
Of Presences/Absences, Identity and Power : The Ideological Role of Translation into Swahi ...
in Swahili Forum vol. 20 (2013) . - pp. 85-101
http://www.qucosa.de/fileadmin/data/qucosa/documen ...

Article in a book (peer-reviewed)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Talento, Serena
What Hands/Arms Can Say : A Corpus-Based Analysis of the Swahili Body-Part Terms Mkono and ...
In: Brenzinger, Matthias ; Kraska-Szlenk, Iwona (ed.): The body in language : comparative studies of linguistic embodiment - Leiden: Brill, 2014. - pp. 260-283 . - (Brill's Studies in Language, Cognition and Culture; 8)
doi:10.1163/9789004274297_014 ...


Talento, Serena
Aiello, Flavia ; Gaudioso, Roberto (Hrsg.): Ushairi na uhuru : Poesie scelte di Abdilatif ...
Swahili Forum
https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:bsz:15-qucosa ...

Talento, Serena
Polenta e Uova
Africa e Mediterraneo
reviewed: Mulokozi, Mugyabuso M.: "Polenta e Uova" traduzione di Elena Bertoncini Zúbková della poesia "Sima na Mayai"

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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