Michael Wairungu Professor of Swahili

Michael Wairungu is a linguistic anthropologist who specializes in multilingualism, language contact, ethnography of communication, and language policy in education. He earned his PhD in anthropology from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. He previously held a Mellon Globalization Forum fellowship at Sewanee University and was a Fulbright visiting scholar at Stanford University. His research focuses on urban youth vernaculars and identity in Kenya, particularly the influence of the Sheng dialect on Christian practices. He recently published an article, “The Rise of Sheng: A Sociolinguistic Revolution from Below,” in African Youth in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture (ed. Vivian Yenika-Agbaw and Lindah Mhando, Routledge, 2014). He is revising his dissertation for publication and plans to conduct further research on Sheng among young Kenyans at home and in the diaspora.