Mauro Nobili received his PhD in African Studies at the University of Napoli l’ Orientale in 2008. He worked on the Series Catalogorum for which he produced a full-scale catalogue of the De Gironcourt collection of West African Arabic manuscripts published in 2013. He spent two remarkable years as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Cape Town and researcher at the Tombouctou Manuscripts Project, conducting research focusing on the Arabic script styles displayed by West African manuscripts. Mauro took up the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (USA) in September 2014. He is, however, still connected to the project in the capacity of a Research Associate.
Saarah Jappie is program officer for the Transregional Collaboratory on the Indian Ocean at the SSRC. She holds a PhD in history from Princeton University, an MA in historical studies from the University of Cape Town, and a bachelor of international studies (languages) from the University of New South Wales. She is an associate member of the Oceanic Humanities for the Global South Initiative and an executive committee member of the Islam in Africa Studies Group. Prior to joining the Council, she lectured in histories of the Global South at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. During her MA in Cape Town, Saarah was part of the TMP, focusing on the manuscript tradition of Cape Town.
Shabnam Parker holds an MA deegree in anthropology at the University of Cape Town and joined Tombouctou Manuscripts Project as a research assistant in 2014. She has an active interest in aspects that relate to culture, health and illness as well as how those on the margin interact with the proverbial centre. Her current research is in the field of medical anthropology and focuses on representations and experiences of TB in a middle class setting in Cape Town, South Africa. She is particularly attentive to the ways in which aspects of spiritual healing in Islam are imbricated in the everyday lifeworlds of her research interlocutors. In addition, her past positions as a writing centre consultant and an educational development teaching assistant cultivated a tangential interest in academic literacies, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and academic mentoring.
Rifqah Kahn joined the team in August 2011 as a research and administration assistant and brings much academic and professional experience to the project. She completed her Bachelors in Social Science at UCT majoring in Psychology, Sociology and Public Administration. She graduated from the University of Stellenbosch with a Masters in Social Anthropology with a focus on organisations and public cultures. Her experiences span the education, development and media sectors. Rifqah's research interests include the portrayal of Muslim women in mainstream culture, how cultural and religious identities impact how communities choose to address the challenges raised by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and understanding the global and local demands currently facing the NGO sector, and how best to mediate them.