Mustafa Kemal Mirzeler

Photo of Mustafa Kemal Mirzeler
Mustafa Kemal Mirzeler
Professor of English
(269) 387-2567
823 Sprau Tower, Mail Stop 5331
Mailing address: 
Department of English
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49003-5331 USA
  • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Wisconsin Madison, 1999
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of Wisconsin Madison, 1995
  • B.A., Sociology, California State University—San Bernardino, 1989
Teaching interests: 
  • Folklore and mythology
  • Storytellers
  • African literature
  • Seminar in African mythology
Research interests: 
  • African historical tradition and folktales
  • African historiography
  • Turkish folklore and literature

Dr. Mustafa Mirzeler is a professor in the Department of English at Western Michigan University.

Over the last two decades, Mirzeler has made a number of research trips to East Africa to record oral traditions and conduct ethnographies. In his sneakers, he traveled more than 1,500 miles on the paths of African mythic heroes, visiting the cradle lands that gave birth to new societies. He became an apprentice to African storytellers living in villages along the banks of Nile River and Karamoja Plateau in northern Uganda, along the magnificent shores of Lake Turkana and its islands, and in the barren landscape of Chalbi Desert, in northern Kenya. In addition to his research among African storytellers, Mirzeler also works with Turkish storytellers around Taurus Mountains and along the banks of Ceyhan River and around Anavarza, a medieval castle village, in the plains of Chukurova in Turkey. The voices of these storytellers, living in disparate parts of the world, become a testament to the power of storytelling in  Mirzeler’s teaching and writing. His course, Storytellers, is a popular class on the WMU campus.



  • Remembering Nayeche and the Gray Bull Engiro: African Storytellers of Karamoja Plateau and the Plains of Turkana. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014.
  • Performance and Social Construction of Historical Tradition: Memories of Vulnerable Ancestors, Journal of the African Literature Association (2013), Vol. 7, No 2, pp. 3-36.