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Kai Kresse

Associate Professor of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies
School of the Arts
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
513 Knox Hall
  • Member, Faculty Steering Committee, Columbia Global Centers | Nairobi

Kai Kresse studied Philosophy, Anthropology, African Studies and German Literature in Hamburg, Vienna and London, and taught at Hamburg and SOAS. His ethnographic research focuses mainly on East Africa and the Swahili coast in contemporary Kenya, with a view to wider African and Indian Ocean contexts. Conceptually, he has developed a general approach for the anthropology of philosophy, in his book Philosophising in Mombasa (2007). Other research strands involve the investigation of historical axes and social networks across the Indian Ocean, Swahili texts in social and historical context, Islam in East Africa, African literature, knowledge and intellectual practice, African philosophy, cultural philosophy and philosophical anthropology. He has published widely in these fields. He is a co-editor of the book series Society and History in the Indian Ocean (Hurst and Columbia University Press), a co-editor of the online journal polylog: journal for intercultural philosophy (, and is on the advisory board for the journals Islamic Africa (Evanston University Press), Africa: Journal for the International African Institute (Cambridge University Press) and the book series Welten der Philosophie (Alber Verlag).

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