Mustafa Kemal Mirzeler

Mustafa Kemal Mirzeler

Mustafa Kemal Mirzeler
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Dr. Mustafa Kemal Mirzeler

Associate Professor
African Oral Tradition

Mailing address
Department of English
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5331

Office: (269) 387-2567


923 Sprau Tower


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison (1999)


Dr. Mirzeler is an Associate Professor of English, African oral traditions, and Turkish folklore and literature.

From mid 1994 until 2011, he has made a number of research trips to sub-Saharan East Africa for the purpose of conducting ethnographies on oral traditions of the Turkana, Elmolo, Jie, and Labwor people. The Turkana and the Elmolo people live in northern Kenya in the desert plains and along magnificent shores of Lake Turkana respectively. The Jie and the Labwor people live in Karamoja Plateau in northern Uganda.

During each of his ethnographic research trips, he tape-recorded many of the discussions and performances by the storytellers. He walked on foot up and down the Saharan landscape of Africa covering more than 1,500 miles throughout his research, working with storytellers, collecting historical traditions, myths, epics and folktales. These materials are a testament to the power of storytelling. They are the voices of the African storytellers, from the desert plains and arid plateaus in Sub Saharan East Africa.

Courses Taught:

African Storytellers
African Literature
Contemporary Middle Eastern Literature
Turkish Folklore and Literature
Seminar in African Mythology
Legends of Silk Road (Seminar in Asian Literature)
Postcolonial Literature
Literary Classics

Research Interests:

African historical tradition and folktales; African historiography; Colonial encounters; Turkish folklore and literature; African travel writing

Selected Publications:

“The Journey of Major Rayne on the Banks of Turkwell River: Silent Political Assignment and Travel Writing”, [History in Africa Volume 33 (2006)]

“The Embodiment of the Voyage of Sir Vivian Fuchs to the South Island in the Elmolo Oral Tradition” [(Ethnohistory 53:1 (Winter 2006)]

“Oral Traditions of Origin as Remembered Memory and Repeated Event”, [Ethnohistory 5:12 (Spring 2004)]


Department of English
6th floor Sprau Tower
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5331 USA
(269) 387-2572 | (269) 387-2562 Fax