Department of History

Daren Ray

Daren Ray Assistant Professor
307 Thach Hall
(334) 844-8144
Personal web site

Office Hours

  • By appointment


Daren Ray joined Auburn University’s history faculty in 2015. He received his PhD and MA in African History from the University of Virginia and his BA in History from Brigham Young University. Dr. Ray’s book manuscript--Ethnicity and its Ancestors: Historicizing Tribes in East Africa--focuses on the construction and performance of identity in East Africa. He historicizes ethnicity in Africa by bringing evidence from archaeology, historical linguistics, and ethnography into conversation with Kiswahili literature, Mijikenda oral traditions, and British colonial records from the national archives of Kenya and Zanzibar. His research has received support from a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship (2009-10) and the Social Science Research Council (2008, 2013).

Dr. Ray offers undergraduate courses in Early and Modern African History and welcomes graduate students interested in completing a minor field in Modern African History. He also teaches in the World History program, for which he is piloting the use of Virtual Reality experiences in large and small classes. Prior to joining Auburn University, he taught at Connecticut College and the American University in Cairo.


Ph.D. University of Virginia

M.A. University of Virginia

B.A. Brigham Young University

Representative Publications

Articles and Book Chapters:

"Defining the Swahili," in The Swahili World, ed. Stephanie Wynne-Jones and Adria LaViolette, 2018

"Celebrating Swahili New Year: A Performative Critique of Textual Islam in Coastal Kenya," in The Muslim World Journal, 2015.

"From Constituting Communities to Dividing Districts: The Formalization of a Cultural Border between Mombasa and its Hinterland," in Borderlands in World History, ed. Paul Readman, Cynthia Radding, Chad Bryant, 2014.

Classes Taught

World History I

Modern African History

Early African History

Unmasking Tribalism in Africa

Imperialisms in Africa Graduate Seminar

Last Updated: August 14, 2019