Joseph L. Mbele
Associate Professor
English and Folklore
St. Olaf College
Office (507) 646-3439

Welcome to my homepage. 

I am Joseph L. Mbele, a citizen of Tanzania. I studied at the universities of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and Wisconsin-Madison in the USA. I am a professor in the English Department at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, USA, teaching such courses as "Post-Colonial and Third World Literature," "Introduction to Literature," "Folklore," and "The Hero and the Trickster." I also teach an inter-cultural course, "Africa and the Americas." To understand a little more about my life and work, you can view my resume

I am also a folklorist. I do much folkore fieldwork. View some photos from my fieldwork in northern Tanzania. I have researched traditions about epic heroes in East Africa and elsewhere, and also tricksters and outlaws such as Jesse James. My book, Matengo Folktales, presents folktales from my culture, with my commentaries. Take a look at my Sukuma/Nyamwezi bibliography.

I enjoy teaching outside the classroom also, through speaking engagements and study guides. I participate in e-mail discussion lists particularly on politics and literature. I am committed to international education and have been an advisor on the Lutheran Colleges Consortium for Tanzania (LCCT), GLCA Global Partners Program, and the ACM Tanzania program

I've been a consultant for the South Dakota Humanities Council and the Minnesota Humanities Commission on African Literature & Folklore. I also founded my own consulting organization, Africonexion.

I am also getting interested in cultural tourism in East Africa, following the direction of TourismConcern. I like the idea of tourism that promotes mutual understanding between people of different cultures, rather than the conventional kind that reproduces and sustains neo-colonial relationships and stereotypes.