Lowell Brower is a PhD candidate in the Department of African & African American Studies at Harvard University. He received an M.A. in African Studies from Harvard University, and a B.A. in African Languages and Literature and English from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
A social anthropologist with interdisciplinary interests in Folklore, Literature, Linguistics, Performance, and Refugee Studies, his work focuses on African oral traditions, communal storytelling, and cultural reinvention in the aftermath of violence, displacement, and profound social rupture. Fluent in Kiswahili and Kinyarwanda, Lowell has conducted extensive ethnographic and folkloric research in villages and refugee camps in Rwanda and Tanzania. In all, he has recorded over three thousand East and Central African oral narratives, which he is currently translating, transcribing, and archiving as part of Harvard’s Africa’s Sources of Knowledge Digital Library.
Based on nearly two thousand Kinyarwanda storytelling performances and interviews recorded between 2011 and 2014, his dissertation explores the politics and poetics of storytelling in post-genocide Rwanda, focusing on the genres of imigani tales and ibyivugo praise poetry.
As the head teaching fellow for the African Language Program at Harvard, Lowell assists with African Language curriculum development, and teaches Kiswahili. He has helped to organize the past five African Languages in the Disciplines Conferences, and works as a Research Assistant for the Africa's Sources of Knowledge Digital Library. Courses that he has taught include Intro to African Literature, Elementary Kiswahili, Beginning and Intermediate Creative Writing, and Expository Writing. Courses that he has assisted with as a Teaching Fellow include “Introduction to African Languages and Cultures,” “Performance, Tradition, and Cultural Studies: Introduction to Folklore and Mythology,” and “The Folktale.”