Professor William C. Bissell has produced many publications on his research in Zanzibar and on African history and contemporary cultural studies.


William Bissell and Marie-Aude Fouéré, eds. Social Memory, Silenced Voices, and Political Struggle: Remembering the Revolution in Zanzibar. Dar es Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota/IFRA, 2018.

Urban Design, Chaos, and Colonial Power in Zanzibar. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011. Finalist for the Melville J. Herskovits prize for best scholarly work in African studies in 2011.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

“Monsoon Metropolis: Migration, Mobility, and Mediation in the Western Indian Ocean.” In Toyin Falola, R. Joseph Parrott, and Danielle Sanchez, eds., African Islands: Leading Edges of Empire and Globalization, forthcoming, Rochester University Press.
“The Modern Life of Swahili Stonetowns.” In The Swahili World, Adria LaViolette and Stephanie Wynne-Jones, eds., London and New York: Routledge, 2018.

“From Dhow Culture to the Diaspora: ZIFF, Film, and the Framing of Transnational Imaginaries in the Western Indian Ocean.” Social Dynamics 38(3):479-498 (2013).

“Burning the Mabanda: Incendiary Acts, Interpretive Frames, and Iconoclash in the Indian Ocean.” African Arts 45(3):70–83 (2012).

“When the Film Festival Comes to (Down)Town: Transnational Circuits, Tourism, and the Urban Economy of Images.” In Global Downtowns, Marina Peterson and Gary W McDonough, eds. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.

“Urban Sustainability at the Limits: Development Rhetorics and Realities in Tanzania.” Development 54(3):317–324 (2011), special issue on sustainable cities.

“Between Fixity and Fantasy: Assessing the Spatial Impact of Colonial Urban Dualism.” Journal of Urban History 37(2):208–229 (2011). Reprinted in Owen White, ed., The Rise and Fall of Modern Empires: Volume I, Social Organization. London: Ashgate (2013).

“From Iraq to Katrina and Back: Bureaucratic Planning as Strategic Failure, Fiction, and Fantasy.” Sociology Compass 2(5):1431–1461 (2008).

“Casting a Long Shadow: Colonial Categories, Cultural Identities, and Cosmopolitan Spaces in Globalizing Africa.” African Identities 5(2):181–197 (2007).

“Engaging Colonial Nostalgia.” Cultural Anthropology 20(2):215–248 (2005).

Essays, On-line Articles

“Memory, Media, and Mapinduzi: Alternative Voices and Visions of Revolution, Fifty Years Later” (with Marie-Aude Fouéré). In Social Memory, Silenced Voices, and Political Struggle: Remembering and Representing the Revolution in Zanzibar, William Bissell and Marie-Aude Fouéré, eds. Dar es Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota/IFRA, 2018.

“Design and Temporality: Provocation.” Correspondences, Cultural Anthropology website, June 6, 2016., accessed 3 October 2016.

“From ‘Progress’ to Post-colonial Relics: Modernist Architecture and Design in Africa.” In The Modernist World, Stephen Ross and Allana C. Lindgren, eds. New York: Routledge, 2015.

“On Anthropology’s Nostalgia: Looking Back/Seeing Ahead.” In Anthropology and Nostalgia, Olivia Angé and David Berliner, eds. New York: Berghahn Books, 2015.

“Architecture: Town Planning” and “Zanzibar City.” In John Middleton and Joseph Miller, eds., New Encyclopedia of Africa, 2d ed. (Thompson and Gale, 2007).

“Camera Zanzibar.” In Alternative Modernities. Dilip P. Gaonkar, ed. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001, pp. 236–247.

“Conservation and the Colonial Past: Urban Planning, Space, and Power in Zanzibar.” In Africa’s Urban Past. David M. Anderson and Richard Rathbone, eds. Oxford: James Currey, 2000, pp. 246–261.

“Colonial Constructions: Historicizing Debates on Civil Society in Africa.” In Civil Society and the Political Imagination in Africa. John L. and Jean Comaroff, eds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999, 124–159.