SOAS University of London

African Languages, Cultures and Literatures Section

Professor Alena Rettová

PhD (Charles University, Prague)
  • Teaching
  • Publications


Alena Rettova
African Languages, Cultures and Literatures Section

Professorial Research Associate

Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS)


SOAS World Languages Institute


Centre of African Studies


Professor Alena Rettová
Email address:
+44(0) 20 7898 4372
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
Tuesdays 14.30-16.30


PhD Supervision Completed so far
  • Ida Hadjivayanis, “Norms of Swahili Translations in Tanzania: An Analysis of Selected Translated Prose”, 2006-2011 second supervisor
  • Benedetta Lanfranchi, “Judging crimes against humanity in Acholi: a philosophical interpretation of the use of Acholi traditional justice mechanisms in the aftermath of the war in northern Uganda”, 2011-2015, lead supervisor
  • Sara Marzagora, “Alterity, coloniality and modernity in Ethiopian political thought: the first three generations of 20th century Amharic-language intellectuals”, 2014-2015, lead supervisor
  • Joshua McNamara, “Small scale audiovisual production and its relationship with the development and aid sector in Nairobi: an approach toward Kenya’s media environment, from the perspective of practice-based research”, 2011-2015, second supervisor
  • Katriina Ranne, “The image of water in the poetry of Euphrase Kezilahabi”, 2006-2010, lead supervisor
  • Aïsha Schmitt, “Beyond praising the prophet: making new meanings in Zanzibari Qasida”, 2008-2012, second supervisor


Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Angelica Baschiera,
  • Cristina Nicolini, The evolution of communications in HIV / AIDS prevention – Research in South-East Tanzania
  • Jinjian Li, Nyerere and Post-Colonial Swahili Literature (working title)
  • Michelle Louise Clarke, Eco-criticism in African Literature: New Interpretations
  • Miriam Pahl, Precarious Lives in the Postcolony – The Concept of the Human in Contemporary African Genre Fiction in English


Authored Books

Rettová, Alena (2013) Chanter l'existence : La poésie de Sando Marteau et ses horizons philosophiques. Středokluky: Zdeněk Susa.

Rettova, Alena (2007) Afrophone Philosophies: Reality and Challenge. Středokluky: Zdenek Susa.

Rettova, Alena (2004) We Hold on to the Word of Lizard. A Small Anthology of Zimbabwean Ndebele Writing. Středokluky [Czech Republic]: Zdenek Susa.

Rettová (Nováková), Alena (2002) Africká filozofie mezi lékaři a filozofy. Středokluky (Czech Republic): Zdeněk Susa.

Rettova, Alena (2001) Africká filosofie: Dějiny, trendy, problémy. Středokluky (Czech Republic): Zdeněk Susa.


Rettova, Alena (2018) 'Swahili and Swahili poetry in Lubumbashi: The language and lyrics of Sando Marteau'. Archív Orientální, (86) 3, pp 333-362.

Rettova, Alena (2018) 'Translation as destruction: Kezilahabi's adaptation of Heidegger's 'Being'.'. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, (81) 3, pp 439-457.

Rettova, Alena (2017) 'Sci-fi and Afrofuturism in the Afrophone Novel: Writing the Future and the Possible in Swahili and in Shona'. Research in African Literatures, (48) 1, pp 158-172.

Rettová, Alena (2016) 'Time as Myth, Time as History in Afrophone Novels on Ujamaa (Tanzanian Socialism) and the Second Chimurenga/Umvukela (Zimbabwean Liberation War)'. Comparative Literature, (68) 4, pp 389-407.

Rettová, Alena (2016) 'Writing in the Swing? Neo-Realism in Post-Experimental Swahili fiction'. Research in African Literatures, (47) 3, pp 15-31.

Rettová, Alena (2016) 'African philosophy as a radical critique [Editorial for Special Issue on African Philosophy]'. Journal of African Cultural Studies, (28) 2, pp 127-131.

Rettová, Alena (2015) 'The singer of pain: Suffering and subversion in the poetry of Sando Marteau'. International Journal of Francophone Studies, (18) 2-3, pp 359-384.

Rettová, Alena (2015) 'A solitary war? Genre, community and philosophy in Swahili culture'. Journal of African Cultural Studies, (28) 2, pp 209-224.

Rettová, Alena (2015) 'The Second Year of Asixoxe'. Modern Africa: Politics, History and Society, (3) 1, pp 149-151.

Biersteker, Ann and Rettová, Alena (2012) 'Swahili Language and Literature'. Oxford Bibliographies in African Studies.

Rettová, Alena (2010) 'Philosophy in utenzi metre. Expression of ideas and values in post-independence Swahili historiographic poetry'. Swahili Forum, (17), pp 34-57.

Rettova, Alena (2007) 'Lidství ni Utu? Ubinadamu baina ya Tamaduni'. Swahili Forum, (14), pp 89-134.

Rettova, Alena (2005) ''The best of all possible worlds'? The creation of a world in W. E. Mkufya's Ziraili na Zirani'. Swahili Forum, (12), pp 15-24.

Rettova, Alena (2004) 'Afrophone philosophies: possibilities and practice. The reflexion of philosophical influences in Euphrase Kezilahabi's Nagona and Mzingile'. Swahili Forum, (11), pp 45-68.

Rettova, Alena (2002) 'Die Reduplikation im Deutschen und im Swahili'. Acta Universitatis Carolinae - Philologica 2, Germanistica Pragensia, (XV (19), pp 53-58.

Edited Books or Journals

Rettová, Alena, (ed.), (2016) Journal of African Cultural Studies. Special issue on African Philosophy.. London: Routledge [Taylor and Francis]. (Volume 28, Issue 2).

Book Chapters

Rettova, Alena (2017) 'How ujamaa was told: The situatedness of philosophy and the impact of genre on the expression of ideas and values.'. World Philosophies in Dialogue: Perspectives and Challenges. Mimesis. [Forthcoming]

Rettova, Alena (2016) 'Czechoslovakia’s Swahilists: Elena Bertoncini-Zúbková.'. Festschrift to Elena Bertoncini Zúbková. Rüdiger Köppe Verlag. [Forthcoming]

Rettova, Alena (2016) 'La médialité et intermédialité du savoir en Afrique: le savoir philosophique entre tradition et modernité.'. Festschrift to Elena Bertoncini Zúbková. Rüdiger Köppe Verlag. [Forthcoming]

Rettová, Alena (2016) 'Novel in African Languages'. In: Gikandi, Simon, (ed.), Oxford History of the Novel in English: Volume 11 - The Novel in Africa and the Caribbean since 1950. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp 71-86.

Rettová, Alena (2016) 'Comparative Literature and the Position of the Critic'. In: Loveday, Leo and Parpală, Emilia, (eds.), Ways of Being in Cultural and Literary Spaces. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp 206-217.

Rettová, Alena (2016) 'From Mimesis to Mize. Philosophical Implications of Departures from Literary Realism'. In: Vierke, Clarissa and Greven, Katharina, (eds.), Dunia Yao. Utopia/Dystopia in Swahili Fiction. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, pp 113-146.

Rettová, Alena (2016) 'Existentialism and Swahili Literature'. In: Beck, Rose Marie and Kresse, Kai, (eds.), Abdilatif Abdalla: Poet in Politics. Dar es Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, pp 109-122.

Rettová, Alena (2013) 'Les défis de la philosophie interculturelle aux temps postcoloniaux et postcommunistes'. In: Kasanda, Albert, (ed.), Dialogue interculturel. Cheminer ensemble vers un autre monde possible. Paris: L'Harmattan, pp 73-111.

Rettová, Alena (2012) 'Philosophy'. In: Ramsamy, Edward, (ed.), Cultural Sociology of the Middle East, Asia, & Africa: An Encyclopedia. Vol. 2 Africa.. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, pp 346-347.

Rettova, Alena (2012) 'Swahili Poetry'. In: Greene, Roland and Cushman, Stephen and Cavanagh, Clare and Ramazani, Jahan and Rouzer, Paul, (eds.), The Princeton Encyclopaedia of Poetry and Poetics. Fourth Edition.. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, pp 1380-1382.

Rettová, Alena (2012) ''They see him, but they don't recognize him because of his striking attire': Africa's changing identities and the Lingala novel'. In: Fiala, Vlastimil, (ed.), Multiple Identities in Post-Colonial Africa. Hradec Králové: Publishing House Moneta-FM, pp 191-202.

Rettová, Alena (2011) 'Philosophy of the Powerless: The Singer, the Sage, and Philosophy in Africa'. In: Horáková, Hana and Nugent, Paul and Skalník, Petr, (eds.), Africa: Power and Powerlessness. Hamburg: LIT Verlag, pp 92-106.

Rettová, Alena (2011) 'L'existentialisme et la littérature swahili'. In: Coulon, Virginia and Garnier, Xavier, (eds.), Les Littératures africaines. Textes et terrains. Paris: Karthala, pp 427-442.

Rettová, Alena (2008) '‘The horns of my thoughts are fastened together in a knot’: transformations of ‘humanity’ in Swahili and Shona literatures'. In: Oed, Anja and Reuster-Jahn, Uta, (eds.), Beyond the Language Issue: The Production, Mediation and Reception of Creative Writing in African Languages. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe, pp 263-274.

Rettova, Alena (2007) 'Inkos' uLobengula yasinyamalala: The Attitude to Tradition in Ndebele Theoretical Writing'. In: Malaba, Mbongeni and David, Geoff, (eds.), Zimbabwean Transitions: Essays on Zimbabwean Literature in English, Ndebele, and Shona. Amsterdam; New York: Rodopi, pp 53-76.

Rettova, Alena (2004) 'Africká filosofie v posledním desetiletí (1994-2004): Na cestě za afrofonními filosofiemi'. In: Onderka, Pavel, (ed.), Afrika: dvojznačné jaro 1994 [Africa: The Ambiguous Spring of 1994]. Prague: Aegyptus, pp 103-112.

Rettova, Alena (2002) 'The role of African languages in African philosophy'. In: Bidima, Jean-Godefroy, (ed.), Philosophies africaines: traversées des expériences. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, pp 129-150.


Rettová, Alena (2007) 'Munhu - Člověk.' Plav, (5), pp 31-32.

Rettová, Alena (2007) 'Předmluva.' Plav, (5), pp 33-34.

Kohák, Erazim and Novák, Matěj and Rettová, Alena and Urban, Petr (2006) 'Edmund Husserl. Ideje k čisté fenomenologii a fenomenologické filosofii. Volume II.' .

Abdalla, Abdilatif and Rettová, Alena (2005) 'Václav Havel. Uzinduzi.' .

Rettová, Alena and Urban, Petr (2004) 'Edmund Husserl. Ideje k čisté fenomenologii a fenomenologické filosofii. Volume I.' .

Rettová, Alena (2003) 'Euphrase Kezilahabi. Nagona.' , pp 201-232.

Rettová (Nováková), Alena (2003) 'Lasunkanmi Tela. Ošuolale.' Africká čítanka [African Reader.], ed. Petr Komers., pp 117-127.

Rettová, Alena (2002) 'Jorge Luis Borges. Golem. (Translation of the poem from Spanish into Czech)' Souvislosti, (3-4), pp 99-127.

Rettová, Alena (1999) 'Oscar R. Martí. Der Beitrag der Kubaner außerhalb Kubas zur Philosophie der Gegenwart.' Philosophie, Theologie, Literatur: Kubanische Beiträge aus den letzten 50 Jahren, ed. Raúl Fornet-Betancourt., pp 99-127.

Rettová, Alena (1999) 'Manuel Gayol Mecías. José Lezama Lima und die Suche nach den Ursprüngen.' Philosophie, Theologie, Literatur: Kubanische Beiträge aus den letzten 50 Jahren, ed. Raúl Fornet-Betancourt., pp 265-268.

Rettová, Alena (1999) 'Ivette Fuentes de la Paz. Orígenes: Die Gruppe und die Zeitschrift.' Philosophie, Theologie, Literatur: Kubanische Beiträge aus den letzten 50 Jahren, ed. Raúl Fornet-Betancourt., pp 269-285.

Rettová, Alena (1999) 'Ivette Fuentes de la Paz. Die literarischen Zeitschriften als Zeugnis der Entwicklung der Literaturkritik und des Essays in Kuba' Philosophie, Theologie, Literatur: Kubanische Beiträge aus den letzten 50 Jahren, ed. Raúl Fornet-Betancourt, pp 332-354.

Rettová, Alena (1999) 'Nydia Sorí González. Elemente der Volksreligiosiät in der kubanischen Literatur. Ein Bericht' Philosophie, Theologie, Literatur: Kubanische Beiträge aus den letzten 50 Jahren, ed. Raúl Fornet-Betancourt., pp 355-361.

Book Reviews

Rettová, Alena (2009) 'Review of "Elena Bertoncini Zúbková, Mikhail D. Gromov, Said A. M. Khamis and Kyallo Wadi Wamitila: Outline of Swahili Literature. Prose Fiction and Drama".'. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, (72) 3, pp 594-596.

Rettová, Alena (2008) 'Review of "Xavier Garnier: Le roman Swahili: la notion de 'littérature mineure' à l'épreuve"'. Research in African Literatures, (39) 3, pp 210-211.

Rettová, Alena (2008) 'Review of "Alamin Mazrui: Swahili Beyond the Boundaries: Literature, Language, Identity"'. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, (71) 3, pp 608-609.


This list was last generated on Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 10:56 Europe/London.