Dr. Gearhart received a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Florida in
1998. She takes an interdisciplinary approach (Visual Anthropology, History, and
Performance Studies) to her research on non-western music and dance performance
traditions. Her area of interest is East Africa, where she has frequently lived over the
past twenty years, primarily among the Swahili people of the Kenya coast. Professor
Gearhart is currently working on a book-length manuscript on Swahili expressive arts. 

To view a partial collection of images from Professor Gearhart's research, please
visit the Swahili Expressive Arts Collection (link below). 



Concepts of Illness Among the Swahili of Lamu, Kenya (with Munib Said Abdulrehman MSN, FNP-BC, PhD(c)), Journal of Transcultural Nursing (2013)

The Swahili of Lamu, Kenya, understand illness as the result of a spiritual imbalance caused...



Observations on Eye Care in Lamu, Kenya: Overlooked Needs and Proposed Interventions (with Erick Henderson '12), Journal of Global Health (2013)

These notes draw attention to the underserved eye care needs of residents of Lamu, Kenya....



Seeing life through the eyes of Swahili children of Lamu, Kenya: A visual anthropology approach, AnthropoChildren (2013)

This research offers a first look at Swahili children in Lamu town on Lamu Island,...



Purity, Balance and Wellness Among the Swahili of Lamu, Kenya (with Munib Abdulrehman), The Journal of Global Health (2012)

The Swahili of Lamu Island, Kenya, are part of a larger Swahili nation that extends...



Contesting Identities: The Mijikenda and Their Neighbors in Kenyan Coastal Society (with Linda Giles), IWU Authors Bookshelf (2013)

With contributions from scholars on three continents, Contested Identities fills a major gap in the...


Image Collection


Swahili Expressive Arts Digital Media Collection, Illlinois Wesleyan University (2007)

The Swahili Expressive Arts collection represents the research and scholarship of Professor Rebecca Gearhart, Ph.D.,...




Ngoma Memories: A History of Competitive Music and Dance Performance on the Kenya Coast (1998)

A dissertation presented to the graduate school of the University of Florida in partial fulfillment...