Dr. Franziska Fay


Regionaler Schwerpunkt: Zanzibar, Swahili Coast, Oman, Western Indian Ocean

Franziska Fay is a visiting research fellow with the Oman Research Grant, sponsored by the Sultan Qaboos Higher Centre for Culture and Science.

Building on preliminary fieldwork with young people in Zanzibar and Oman in 2018 and 2019, this project explores the following questions: What does it mean to be a ‘young’ (below the age of 35) Swahili-speaker in Oman? How do young people make sense of their Omani identities while also speaking Swahili? What are the implications of also speaking Swahili in a majority Arabic-speaking state? Where do these young people positions themselves on the spectrum of the so-called Zanzibar Diaspora? The approach aims to offer a more nuanced understanding of contemporary and translocal Omani/Zanzibari identity formation. Foregrounding young Swahili-speaking Omani’s perspectives in the transnational process of identity formation – both as youth and as citizens – can offer new insights on what it means to be ‘young’, ‘Omani’, a ‘Swahili-speaker’, and a second or third generation (post-)diasporan.

Dr. Franziska Fay
Dr. Franziska Fay


PhD in Anthropology and Sociology, no corrections/summa cum laude School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, UK (Thesis: Perilous Protection: Discipline, Chastisement and Child Protection in Schools in Zanzibar)
MARes/MPhil in Social Anthropology/Anthropological Research Methods, distinction School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, UK
Magistra Artium in Education/African Linguistics (Swahili)/Cultural Anthropology, distinction Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany (Thesis: The Promotion of Education in the German Development-oriented Emergency and Transitional Aid)


Oman Research Grant – Visiting Research Fellow at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) Berlin
2019 - 2021
Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Johanna Quandt-Jubiläumsfonds) Normative Orders – Research Centre Goethe University Frankfurt
2017 - 2019
Postdoctoral Research Fellow Cluster of Excellence ‘Normative Orders’ Goethe University Frankfurt


Disputing Discipline. Child Protection, Punishment and Piety in Zanzibar Schools. Rutgers Series in Childhood Studies. New Brunswick/New Jersey/London: Rutgers University Press. (forthcoming 16 April 2021)
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
Living with Absence: Waiting Youth, Belonging, and the Contemporary ‘Zanzibar Diaspora’. Journal of Indian Ocean World Studies - Special Issue, Edited by Walker, Iain and Martin Slama. (in preparation)
Looking at and Seeing Beyond Young People’s Photographs of ‘Child Protection’ in Zanzibar. On Children as Diagnosticians of their own Well-being. MAT – Medicine Anthropology Theory Vol 6(4): 80-100.
Decolonizing the Child Protection Apparatus: Revisiting Child Rights Governance in Zanzibar. Childhood 26(3): 321-336 [Special Issue: Child Rights Governance]
The Impact of the School Space on Research Methodology, Child Participation and Safety: Views from Children in Zanzibar. Children’s Geographies, 16:4, pp. 405-417. Published online: 26 June 2017
The Meaning of Adabu and Adhabu for the ‘Child Protection’ Discourse in Zanzibar. SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research, Vol 9 (2016).
Book Chapters
Between ‘malezi ya jamii’ and ‘malezi ya kisasa’: Changing Temporalities and Spaces of Child Rearing in Zanzibar. Edited by Fouere, Marie-Aude, Kaarsholm, Preben and Iain Walker. (under review)
The Diverse Normative Orders of Being Young and Being Safe in Zanzibar. In: Navigating Normative Orders: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Edited by M. Kettemann. Frankfurt/New York: Campus.
(with Rachel Burr). Child Protection Across Worlds: Young People’s Challenges Within and Outside of Child Protection Programmes in UK and Zanzibar Schools. In: Imoh, A. T.-D. et al. (eds.) (2018) Global Childhoods Beyond the North-South Divide. Palgrave Studies on Children and Development/Springer Int. Publishing.
Book Reviews
review of [Swahili Muslim Publics and Postcolonial Experience. by Kai Kresse (2018), Bloomington: Indiana University Press], Social Anthropology/ Anthropologie Sociale, tbc. (forthcoming)
review of [Island in the Stream: An Ethnographic History of Mayotte. by Michael Lambek (2018), Toronto/Buffalo/London: University of Toronto Press], Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, tbc. (forthcoming)
review of [Discourses of Discipline. An Anthropology of Corporal Punishment in Japan's Schools and Sports. by Aaron L. Miller (2013), Berkeley, California: Institute of East Asian Studies], Children’s Geographies, Vol 15 (3): 381-383. DOI: 10.1080/14733285.2016.1189236
Academic Blog Posts
Life after Fieldwork: Of Leaving the Field, Entering Liminality and Relocating the Mind. ,
Cultivating Childhood: Researching Protection and Personhood on a Western Indian Ocean Island. ,