Book Panels at virtual Lagos Studies Association Conference (June 22-26, 2021)

The LSA is pleased to release the preliminary schedule of book panels at the 5th edition of its annual conference. From African literature, slavery, architecture and history to diaspora, digital culture, art, and urban, gender, and feminist studies, our twenty-one book panels promise to celebrate the achievements of scholars while providing a platform for critical engagement with ideas in all their divergent manifestations.

 All the 120 panels at the five-day virtual conference will be free-of-charge to all participants, across the world, because of the financial support of LSA members, especially life members, the British Academy, and the Nigeria Office of the French Institute for Research in Africa. To aid attendance, we are giving 15gb of Internet data to 500 Nigeria-based participants. You can donate to LSA via our secured PayPal platform: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=7MGBJQ8ALWH6L

 For regular updates on the conference, including date and time of final schedule, follow LSA on social media (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/205111409881162; Twitter: https://twitter.com/LagosStudies), request to be added to our listserv (lagosstudiesassociation@gmail.com), or check our website (https://lagosstudies.wcu.edu).

 

 

 

Beauty Diplomacy: Embodying an Emerging Nation by Oluwakemi Balogun (Stanford University Press, 2020)

 In this book, Oluwakemi Balogun draws an uncommon connection between beauty contests and the ideas of nationhood. Beauty, “through the vehicle of pageants,” she argues, “is a site where national identities are managed in relation to a larger global landscape.” This book begins with how the Nigerian state and citizens used the 2001 victory of eighteen-year-old Agbani Darego in the Miss World Pageant to articulate a new era in the country’s unending journey towards genuine national unity and international respect. Balogun coins two terms— “beauty diplomacy” and “mirage politics” —to espouse the contradictions in using beauty pageant to jettison Nigeria’s dismal past and to remedy its poor image at home and abroad.

 Beauty Diplomacy is a multidisciplinary scholarship of the first order. This book is about history, ethnicity, gender, and body politics, as much as about the political economy of spectacle, nationalism, and global image-remaking. Ethnographic fieldwork speaks directly to archival research in unveiling voices, perspectives, and ideologies from a wide range of Nigerians, across class and gender, who articulated contrasting perspective on the relationship between beauty pageant and nation-building. Conscientiously written and inventively researched, Beauty Diplomacy will inspire new works across the social sciences and the humanities.

 

Panelists

Chair: Oyeronke Oyewumi (Stony Brook University)

 

Discussants

Simidele Dosekun (London School of Economics and Political Science)

Mofeyisara Omobowale (University of Ibadan)

Sharon Adetutu Omotoso (University of Ibadan)

Aderayo Sanusi (Princeton University)

Stacey Vanderhurst (University of Kansas)

 

Respondent/Author

Oluwakemi Balogun (University of Oregon)

** Stanford University Press will offer attendees a 20% discount on the book. Google preview available here: https://www.amazon.com/Beauty-Diplomacy…/dp/1503610977

 

 Imagined States: Law and Literature in Nigeria, 1900-1966 by Katherine Baxter (Edinburgh University Press, 2019)

 Using Adigun Agbaje’s profound observation that “no other area vividly illustrates the enduring character and pervasiveness of the colonial inheritance in the Nigerian post-colony more than its system of laws,” as a touchstone, Imagined States engages a gamut of fiction written by Nigerian and British authors from 1900 to the 1960s. These literary and popular creative works, including Chinua Achebe’s No Longer at Ease and Man of the People and Cyprian Ekwensi’s People of the City and Jagua Nana, among others, go beyond fictional representations in the way they positioned the encounter of colonial subjects and citizens with the instrumentalities of the state. From autobiographical writings of nationalists like Obafemi Awolowo to newspaper editorials, the language of law, equity, and conscience converged and diverged (in varying proportion) around the vexed questions of political expediency. In deploying the representation of law in literature to underscore the working of colonial and postcolonial Nigeria, Imagined States expands African literary scholarship in significant ways.

 

Panelists

Chair: Adigun Agbaje (University of Ibadan)

Discussants

Lola Akande (University of Lagos)

Wendy Griswold (Northwestern University)

Stephanie Newell (Yale University)

Senayon Olaoluwa (University of Ibadan)

Nathan Suhr-Sytsma (Emory University)

 

Respondent/Author

Katherine Isobel Baxter (Northumbria University)

For additional information on the book, see this link: https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-imagined-states.html  

 

 Fashioning Postfeminism: Spectacular Femininity and Transnational Culture by Simidele Dosekun (University of Illinois Press, June 2020)

 This book is about Lagos women who dress spectacularly, flamboyantly, and extravagantly, wearing a combination of weaves and wigs, false nails, false eyelashes, highest of heels, and immaculate makeup. Dosekun argues that “Visually, materially, and symbolically, the style of dress in question is spectacular.” The author conceptualizes the women’s look or what she terms “spectacularly feminine style” as performative, positing further that class-privileged young Nigerian women who appear spectacularly feminine are “fashion­ing postfeminist selves.”

The five-chapter book explores the life of eighteen Lagos women between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five, to answer the following overlapping questions: Why do the women appear and dress as they do? How do they manage to afford their fashion? How do they respond to contestations over the “suitability” of their style? What are the misconceptions and social risks that they encounter and dread in their daily lives?

 Dosekun brilliantly weaves multiple themes together—postfeminism, transnationalism, media and culture, postcolonialism, fashion, and performative act—to produce a book that would compel scholars to rethink stale narratives about gender and feminism. By tackling postfeminism from different intellectual standpoints, locations, and epistemologies, this theoretically and conceptually sophisticated work would easily find a respectable place in the galaxy of first-rate scholarship in the social sciences and the humanities.

 

 

Panelists

Chair: Vicki Brennan (University of Vermont)

Discussants

Grace Adeniyi-Ogunyankin (Queen’s University)

Abosede George (Barnard College-Columbia University)

Chinwe Ezinna Oriji (Wesleyan University)

Oyeronke Oyewumi (Stony Brook University)

Rosemary Popoola (Chrisland University)

 

Respondent/Author

Simidele Dosekun (London School of Economics and Political Science)

For additional information on the book, see https://www.press.uillinois.edu/…/68xcb7dm9780252043215…

 

The Yoruba: A New History by Akinwumi Ogundiran (Indiana University Press, 2020)

This book documents the ideas, imaginations, and meaning that shaped the Yoruba experience, covering over two thousand years. Akinwumi Ogundiran brings new conceptual, methodological, and theoretical insights into Yoruba studies in ways unmatched in previous scholarship. He carries out a close examination of the four core principles that shaped Yoruba identity (house, town/urban, gendered duality, and immortality) using rigorously-mined historical, archeological, and linguistic evidence to tackle how the Yoruba developed a community of practice between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. From the age of turmoil in the fifteenth century to the era of restoration in the sixteenth century, Ogundiran crafts engrossing prose, laced with imaginative writing to give intellectual visibility to previously neglected ideas.

 The Yoruba: A New History is a new template for studying African ethnicities. The author disturbs existing paradigms, exposing the loopholes in decades of scholarship that overlooks vital agents and agencies in the evolution of ancient civilizations. His Yoruba language competence aligns perfectly with his critical understanding of nuances embedded in ideologies, practices, and metaphors that operated within and across historical timelines and locations. From material culture, archeological multi-layered interpretations, and social memory to ethnolinguistic and oral tradition, this book tells a deep-time history of the Yoruba in truly new ways, invigorating the gendered and even material culture produced and circulated within the Atlantic world. The author’s high regard for hermeneutics allows him to read and interpret sources beyond and above casual rendition. The Yoruba: A New History is a turning point in the scholarship of one of Africa’s most studied ethnic groups.

 

Panelists

Chair: Rowland Abiodun (Amherst College)

 

Discussants

Aderemi Ajala (University of Ibadan)

Abidemi Babatunde Babalola (University of Cambridge)

Karin Barber (University of Birmingham)

Dele Layiwola (University of Ibadan)

Moyo Okediji (University of Texas at Austin)

Olanike Orie (Tulane University)

Oyeronke Oyewumi (Stony Brook University)

 

Respondent/Author

Akinwumi Ogundiran (University of North Carolina-Charlotte)

Google book preview available here: https://www.amazon.com/Yoruba-New-History…/dp/0253051495

 

 The Persistence of Slavery: An Economic History of Child Trafficking in Nigeria by Robin Chapdelaine (University of Massachusetts Press, 2021)

 This book is about children and slavery, as much as about economic and labor history of colonial Nigeria. By documenting the relationship between different forms of child dealings and trafficking, and the circumstances under which they flourished, The Persistence of Slavery charts a new dimension in the history of marriage, gender, and social relations in Africa. The central theme of this book—child trafficking—is one of the most important development issues in Africa today. Thus, one of the core merits of this book is using history to explain the evolution of development-centered discourse in 21st century Africa.

 The author invents a conceptual framework, “The social economy of a child” to hold the strands of ideas flowing through the seven-chapter book in a seamless manner. She deploys thoughtfully mined primary sources from Nigeria and the United Kingdom, and crafts brilliant proses that activate events of the past for contemporary audience. From economic to social narratives, Chapdelaine gives agency to the stories of men and women and establish the central role of children in precolonial and colonial economic processes. In addition to shedding a bright light on uncommon narratives, the author re-reads well-known histories (especially the Women’s War of 1929), rendering a new interpretation that scholars would find convincing.

 

Panelists

Chair: Rasheed Olaniyi (University of Ibadan)

 

Discussants

Sarah Duff (Colby College)

Abosede George (Barnard College-Columbia University)

Nonye Nnamezie (Hezekiah University)

Oghenetoja Okoh (Loyola University Maryland)

Afua Twum-Danso Imoh (University of Bristol)

 

Author/Respondent

Robin Chapdelaine (Duquesne University)

****22 copies of Chapdelaine’s book, donated by her institution and friends, will be available across Nigerian university libraries by June 2021.

Google Preview of the book available here: https://www.amazon.com/Persistence-Slavery…/dp/1625345232

 

 Livelihood in Colonial Lagos by Monsuru Muritala (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2019)

 Today, Lagos is a very expensive city to live. But the history of high cost of living in the city dates to decades of political, economic, and structural transformation. In this timely book,

Livelihood in Colonial Lagos, Monsuru Muritala places urban livability at the center of major local and international changes from the opening decades of the twentieth century. The author uses a wide range of sources (including archival materials, newspapers, and oral evidence) to shed a bright light of how people of twentieth century colonial Lagos negotiated social and economic barriers as they attempted to maximize the gains of city life. Throughout the book, Muritala embeds his narrative in relevant theoretical and conceptual frameworks without compromising empiricism. The beautiful craft of history writing comes to life in the way he allows social history to speak to economic, political, and imperial issues in colonial Nigeria’s capital.

 Muritala establishes an indisputable fact—urban livability shapes virtually all aspects of people’s engagement with the infrastructure of power and in their daily interpersonal relations. This explains why the book pays attention to the intersections of gender, criminality, domestic economy, and elastic conception of urban moralities. Livelihood in Colonial Lagos is yet another achievement in the unending quest to fully understand African urban locations in historical perspective.

 

Panelists

 

Chair: Honorable Adekunle Alli (Independent Scholar/Local Historian of Lagos)

 

Discussants

Akeem Akinwale (University of Lagos)

Davide Casciano (University of Bologna)

Tunde Decker (Osun State University)

Sara Katz (Loyola University New Orleans)

Susan Rosenfeld (University of California-Los Angeles)

 

Respondent/Author

Monsuru Muritala (University of Ibadan)

Google book preview available here: https://www.amazon.com/Livelihood-Colonial…/dp/1498582141

 

 Nigeria and World War II: Colonialism, Empire, and Global Conflict by Chima Korieh (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

 In this discipline-redefining text, Korieh does not focus on the well-known stories of military operations and the relationship between the WWII and nationalism. Rather, the author’s primary agenda includes writing neglected themes into the history of the global catastrophe in ways that give agency to neglected narratives and political communities such as colonial children and farmers, whose contribution to the WWII has not received adequate attention. Excavating the voice of children from previously unutilized sources such as letters and memoirs (including that of renowned novelist Chinua Achebe), placing women at the center of the food crisis, and pontificating intellectual production and network of social relations, among other issues covered in the study, illuminate a dark angle to Nigeria’s involvement in the global violence.

 Nigeria and WWII, exaltedly-occupies the confluence of multiple topics in African studies—race, gender, intellectualism, childhood, and Empire—in casting a new light on one of the most important events in modern world history. Perceptively written and meticulously researched, the book complements existing scholarship in remakable ways, while occupying its own unique place in African and global history.

 

Panelists

Chair: Habeeb Sanni (Lagos State University)

 

Discussants

Shina Alimi (Obafemi Awolowo University)

Oliver Coates (University of Cambridge)

Abosede George (Barnard College–Columbia University)

Tim Livsey (Northumbria University)

Emmanuel Mordi (Delta State University)

 

Respondent/Author

Chima Korieh (Marquette University)

For more information on the book, see this link: https://www.amazon.com/Nigeria-World-War-II-Colonialism/dp/1108425801  

 

Architecture in Global Socialism: Eastern Europe, West Africa, and the Middle East in the Cold War by Łukasz Stanek (Princeton University Press, 2020)

 The main focus of this book is how planners, construction companies, and architects from socialist Eastern Europe collaborated with local professionals to pilot a new modernist turn in five cities in the Global South: Lagos, Accra, Baghdad, Abu Dhabi, and Kuwait City. Drawing from previously untapped archival materials, unpublished images, and unmined oral narratives, Stanek gives another dimension to the politics of the Cold War beyond armed struggle, focusing on how built environment shaped and was shaped by conflict over global supremacy.

 Africanist scholars would be impressed by how Stanek inserts infrastructural modernization at the heart of postcolonial discourse of nation-building in Nigeria and Ghana. Indeed, the connection between nationalism and architecture in the 1960s and 1970s allows him to beam a bright light on how postcolonial conception of progress deployed architectural magnificence, both as immediate evidence of an idealized future, characterized by parallel global modernities, and as immediate benefit of political self-determination. Thus, the stories of the National Theatre in Lagos and Accra’s International Trade Fair go beyond the impact of massive edifice on physical landscape to include how they framed political discourse, across local and global arenas.

 Colorfully illustrated with maps and photos, and enhanced with newspaper reports of public perception of architectural encounter, this book benefits from a thoughtful scholarship that does not over-compartmentalize knowledge. From architecture and urban studies to nationalism and decolonization, Stanek’s book reemphasizes the value of placing built environment at the center of major social and political processes central to how people (regardless of their class), defined and encountered Cold War modernism. The author successfully writes numerous peoples, places, events, and architectural landmarks into the history of five global cities in a coherent theoretical framework, thus upholding the value of multi-sited research.

 

Panelists

Chair: Babatunde Agbola (University of Ibadan)

Discussants

Tim Livsey (Northumbria University)

Ikem Okoye (University of Delaware)

Bisi Olumide (University of Lagos)

Bhakti Shringarpure (University of Connecticut)

Ola Uduku (Manchester School of Architecture)

 

Respondent/Author

Łukasz Stanek (Manchester School of Architecture)

For more information on the book, see this link: https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691168708/architecture-in-global-socialism?fbclid=IwAR3tWH0l5drm76ScezRRxn9TQQXGQ-S7EgZbykuBBjJi7Eej0eI7hzcjfq8

 

 Histories of Dirt: Media and Urban Life in Colonial and Postcolonial Lagos by Stephanie Newell (Duke University Press, 2020)

 Stephanie Newell’s Histories of Dirt: Media and Urban Life in Colonial and Postcolonial Lagos asks how particular urban spaces come to be regarded as dirty or as full of dirt over a long twentieth century, and how certain objects and subjects come to be labelled using categories related to dirt. Central to the study are media consumers’ changing historical understandings of the wide spectrum of words and phrases signifying dirt. The book approaches Lagos as a culturally rich site for comparison with other African cities in order to test the productiveness of ‘dirt’ as a category for cultural analysis, and attempts to historically contextualize the phenomena of cosmopolitanism and anti-cosmopolitanism (including hate speech) in postcolonial African cities. Through the study of colonial archives and African newspapers, films, and popular opinion, the book assesses the ways in which public opinion re-invents, adapts, reiterates, or bypasses prejudiced discourses. The book focuses on how urban residents’ understandings of the city, past and present, are publicly mediated by popular cultural forms as well as by everyday exchanges of opinion.

 

Panelists

Chair and Organizer:

Cajetan Iheka (Yale University)

 

Discussants

Carli Coetzee (Journal of African Cultural Studies)

Jonathan Haynes (Independent Scholar)

Sara Katz (Loyola University New Orleans)

Patrick Oloko (University of Lagos)

John Uwa (University of Lagos)

 

Respondent/Author

Stephanie Newell (Yale University)

For more information on the book, see this link: https://www.dukeupress.edu/histories-of-dirt

 

 Urban Crises and Management in Africa: A Festschrift for Akin Mabogunje edited by Isaac Olawale Albert and Taibat Lawanson (Pan-African University Press, 2019)

 In 1961, Akin Mabogunje became one of the pioneers of African urban studies when he completed his doctoral thesis, Lagos: A Study in Urban Geography, at the University of London. This study would later metamorphose into Urbanization in Nigeria (1968), a canonical work, which set the vocabulary, theoretical foundation, and discursive parameters for studying African urban locations. In placing the development of Nigerian cities in comparative context, Mabogunje combines the canons of the historical profession with his training in geography and urban planning to establish the significance of multidisciplinary and comparative urbanization approaches—decades before scholars in the humanities and social sciences began to adopt them as the rule of thumb. Now 89 years old, Mabogunje remains active in academic circles. He attended a special session on the 50th anniversary of Urbanization in Nigeria at LSA 2018.

In this 40-chapter book, editors Isaac Olawale Albert and Taibat Lawanson assemble scholars working across multiple fields and at different stages of their career to place urban crises at the center of African studies. The themes covered in the book range from housing, built environment, poverty, informality, and inequality, to youth culture, religion, crime, and security. The significance of this book goes beyond re-emphasizing why urban crises should be taken seriously by scholars and policy makers, to preempting the likely trajectory that African studies would take in years to come. Urban Crises and Management in Africa is a befitting tribute to one of the finest intellectuals of Africa.

 

Panelists

Chair: Hakeem Ibikunle Tijani (National Open University of Nigeria)

Discussants

Waseem-Ahmed Bin-Kasim (Elon University)

Laurent Fourchard (Sciences Po)

Jennifer Hart (Wayne State University)

Mufutau Jimoh (Federal University-Birnin Kebbi)

Portia Roelofs (St Anne’s College-University of Oxford)

 

Respondents/Editors

Isaac Olawale Albert (University of Ibadan)

Taibat Lawanson (University of Lagos)

 

Honoree

Akin Mabogunje (University of Ibadan)

For more information on the book, see this link: https://www.amazon.com/Urban-Crises-Management-Africa-Festschrift/dp/B07VBGHM3Z

 

 African Literature in the Digital Age: Class and Sexual Politics in New Writing from Nigeria and Kenya by Shola Adenekan (James Currey, March 2021)

 Shola Adenekan’s African Literature in the Digital Age takes seriously the discursive implications of the affordances of digital media for both established African writers and a new generation of young writers using social media and blogging to circulate literary forms. As the first major volume of literary digital humanities in Africa, Adenekan’s monograph recognizes the ways in which the digital age enables new writerly possibilities and an era of openness, and agency for new voices. What proceeds from the digital articulation of cultural productions invites us to rethink the ways in which a new regime of digital visibility enables new understandings of African history, and how people engage in quotidian political and cultural processes. By foregrounding analysis of digital literary networks and their importance to our understanding of literary history in Nigeria and Kenya, African Literature in the Digital Age addresses an important aspect of African literature, astutely explicating the online literary networks that enable an appreciation of global politics, class and literature.

 Adenekan brilliantly shows how the digital both reiterates the metaphors of print and connects to oral tradition through the fluidity of textual forms and the dialogic participation of readers in their production and transmission. As rich and middle-class queer Kenyans and Nigerians create communities and find new portals for their work online, they not only transcend the conservative politics of traditional publishing, but also become the generative canvas for the author’s argument that African digital spaces are marked by class consciousness and sexual politics. We, therefore, encounter imbricating links between discourses of class, sexuality and the body politic in digital texts that center on queerness, and erotic pleasures which challenge the dominance of hetero-normative analyses in African literature.”

 

Panelists

ChairRhonda Cobham-Sander (Amherst College)

Panel OrganizerJames Yékú (University of Kansas)

 

Discussants

Stephanie Bosch Santana (University of California – Los Angeles)

Rebecca Jones (Independent Scholar)

Koleade Odutola (University of Florida)

Kwabena Opoku-Agyemang (University of Ghana)

Oyeniyi Okunoye (Obafemi Awolowo University)

 

Respondent/Author

Olorunshola Adenekan (University of Amsterdam)

Available online: https://boydellandbrewer.com/african-literature-in-the…

 

The Women Went Radical: Petition Writing and the Colonial State in Southwestern Nigeria, 1900-1953 by Mutiat Oladejo (BookBuilders, 2019)

 Fifty years ago, the field of African women’s history did not exist. Except for notable professional historians like Bolanle Awe, among others, most scholars of Africa at that time did not think that African women can be subjects and actors of history. However, this epistemological bias, a product of colonialism, foreign religious implantation, and Western patriarchy, has since changed. In 2020, African women’s history is one of the most dynamic subfields of history, shaping how broader historical processes (from the precolonial to the postcolonial eras) are studied across time and location.

 The Women Went Radical by Mutiat Oladejo is yet another milestone in the long history of centering women in African history. Oladejo excavates the voices of women across the length and breadth of southwestern Nigeria to render new interpretation on gender and colonialism. From petitions on marriage and domesticity to economy and politics, this book unsilenced many voices, and amplified existing ones. Oladejo creatively weaves textual expression of women’s resistance to colonialism into the broader culture of imperial patriarchy and its paraphernalia of inequity. This book is important, not just because of the author’s rigorous use of previously untapped primary sources, but in the way she deploys concepts and theories to speak to historical moments, which women of colonial Nigeria contested.

 

Panelists

Chair: Bolanle Awe (University of Ibadan)

Discussants

Aisha Bawa (Usmanu Danfodio University)

Gloria Chuku (University of Maryland)

Damilola Fagite (Obafemi Awolowo University)

Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome (Brooklyn College, City University of New York)

Sara Panata (University of Paris 1)

 

Author/Respondent

Mutiat Titilope Oladejo (University of Ibadan)

The book is available on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Women-Went-Radical-Southwestern-1900-1953/dp/9789211791  

 

Emergent Masculinities: Gendered Power and Social Change in the Biafran Atlantic Age by Ndubueze L. Mbah (Athens: Ohio University Press/New African Histories Series, 2019)

 Co-winner of the 2020 Rosalyn Terborg-Penn Prize of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD), Finalist for the ASWAD Best Book Prize, and Finalist for the 2020 Best Book Prize of the African Studies Association of the United States, Emergent Masculinities is exactly what leading scholars have called it—outstanding. For decades, Africanists have emphasized the significance of the Atlantic age in local transformation of gendered power. They have also insisted that gender practices vary across location and from the precolonial to the postcolonial eras. The scholarship on African gender has focused overwhelmingly on patrilineal societies. We know little about matrilineal societies with dominant matrifocal religious principles and ferocious female political authority. Only few scholars have connected pre-Atlantic slave trade era with other periods in African history and demonstrate how changing times brought new conception of honor and respectability. Fewer have emphasized the connections between male and female masculinities.

 However, no other scholar has put all these into a single analytical framework like Mbah. In addition to relying on existing vocabularies, historical delimitations, and discursive boundaries, Emergent Masculinities develops powerful arguments, deploys previously unused sources, and sets new standard for studying African masculinities and the Atlantic world. Perhaps the most profound idea of the book is what Mbah terms “gendered Atlanticization,” which he describes as the massive transformations in sexuality, gender, and institutions within precolonial African societies due to trans-Atlantic socio-political and cultural exchange. With Emergent Masculinities, African scholarship on gender, the Atlantic world, slavery, and colonialism has reached a turning point.

 

Panelists

Chair: Onwuka Njoku (University of Nigeria)

 

Discussants

Jody Benjamin (University of California – Riverside)

Roquinaldo Ferreira (University of Pennsylvania)

Lisa Lindsay (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)

Obinna Ugochukwu Muoh (University of Nigeria)

Moses Ochonu (Vanderbilt University)

Elizabeth Schmidt (Loyola University Maryland)

Respondent/Author

Ndubueze Mbah (University at Buffalo)

Google book preview available here: https://www.amazon.com/Emergent…/dp/0821423894

 

 Nigeria’s Digital Diaspora: Citizen Media, Democracy, and Participation by Farooq Kperogi  (University of Rochester Press, 2020)

 This book engages the development, influence, and reach of unexplored diasporic, citizen-led online spaces for symbolically and politically consequential online journalism about the homeland. According to Kperogi, a “momentous informational revolution” sweeping across Nigeria’s media landscape since 2005 challenges, and in some cases, supplants the dominance of “conventional” media. In this process, citizen-controlled media not only reverses time-honored notions of informational flows between the homelands and diasporas, it challenges conventional conception of information transmission across temporal, cultural, and physical delimitations. The author differentiates between citizen media and alternative media to underscore what he describes as “rising power, through the instrumentality of online citizen media, of the digital public sphere of a previously politically disempowered diaspora in the West” (p.8).

 The most casual observer of the trajectories of scholarship in African studies would not doubt the timeliness of this book. Nigeria’s Digital Diaspora is about politics, nationalism, and diaspora as much as about digital culture and the new media. In collapsing multiple subfields in the humanities and social sciences to produce a coherently provocative book of the highest scholarly standard, Kperogi aligns digital textuality with impeccable theoretical exposition. Nigeria’s Digital Diaspora injects a new life into the nascent field of African digital humanities, while expanding the scholarship on politics, nationalism, and diaspora in significant ways.

 

Panelists

Chair: Olufemi Vaughan (Amherst College)

 

Discussants

Bukola Akintola-Adesina (University of Ibadan)

Vivian Chenxue Lu (Fordham University)

Bruce Mutsvairo (Auburn University)

Kanyinola Obayan (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Moses Ochonu (Vanderbilt University)

 

Respondent/Author

Farooq Kperogi (Kennesaw State University)

Google preview available here: https://www.amazon.com/Nigerias-Digital…/dp/1580469825

 

A History of the Republic of Biafra: Law, Crime, and the Nigerian Civil War by Samuel Fury Childs Daly (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

 The Nigerian Civil War is undoubtedly one of the most difficult topics in postcolonial Nigerian history, attracting the attention of scholars working across disciplinary boundaries. The technological innovation of the war, humanitarian crisis, civil-military and international relations, gender, memory and self-representation, as well as the intersections of violence, ethnicity, and nation-building have formed the foundation of many works.

 Samuel Daly’s A History of the Republic of Biafra takes us a step closer to fully understanding everyday life in Biafra and the unending legacies of the Nigerian Civil War. It is inconceivable that administration of justice went hand in glove with violence in Biafra. Daly takes his readers into the everyday working of the court in Biafra, explicating how “warfare sowed the seeds of crime” p.2. Holding court trials in the bombed-out shells of government buildings, dilapidated schools, and under the shade of trees contravene the conventional image of law courts in any society. But it helps Daly to establish a solid fact that wartime crimes transcend the flouting of international humanitarian laws, military mutiny, and espionage, to include such offenses as rape, robbery, and currency fraud. His argument that ethnicity is not “a useful tool in understanding who engaged in crime and why” counters the ethno-politicization of the war (p. 14). Firmly grounded in detailed research, A History of the Republic of Biafra is a clever, tight, and elegantly written book.

 

Panelists

Chair: Nwando Achebe (Michigan State University)

 

Discussants

Douglas Anthony (Franklin & Marshall College)

Roy Doron (Winston-Salem State University)

Ed Emeka Keazor (Independent Scholar)

Steven Pierce (University of Manchester)

Alex Amaechi Ugwuja (Nnamdi Azikiwe University)

Ogechukwu Williams (Creighton University)

Respondent/Author

Samuel Fury Childs Daly (Duke University)

Softcopy can be viewed here: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/history-of-the-republic-of-biafra/59377D443F078E195F366F5D1BCB31B9  

 

 

Classify, Exclude, Police: Urban Lives in South Africa and Nigeria by Laurent Fourchard (John Wiley, 2021)

 In this timely book, Fourchard, a former Director of the Nigeria Office of the French Institute for Research in Africa, makes a unique case for putting the questions of policing, violence, and exclusion in urban spaces in historical perspective. The central plank on which this book rests is profound: from the 1920s, new institutions of power in Nigerian cities of Lagos, Ibadan, and Kano and in Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa, created new regimes that sorted, indexed, and ordered individuals and groups in accordance with the perceived threat they posed to prejudiced construction of order and normative behavior or in response to their significance for upholding the ideals of capitalism, or both.

 From the discourse of race and gender to class, politics, and segregation, Fourchard’s book develops fresh theoretical frameworks and paradigm for understanding the lived experience of urbanites across elastic physical and cultural geographies, while not overlooking specific structures unique to individual locations. Methodologically, the book re-affirms the significance of thinking across disciplinary boundaries. The creation of age-specific social services and policing mechanisms in Nigerian and South African cities extends Fourchard’s narratives by connecting the questions of violence to gradation in childhood and the futuristic notions of progress. This book comes out at a time when police violence against a demography of Nigerian youth is creating new anxiety and when xenophobia in South Africa compels us to rethink pan-Africanism in a new way. “Classify, Exclude, Police” is the book of the moment.

 

 

Panelists

Chair: Ayodeji Olukoju (University of Lagos)

 

Discussants

Saheed Aderinto (Western Carolina University)

Rufus Akinyele (University of Lagos)

Muritala Monsuru (University of Ibadan)

Enocent Msindo (Rhodes University)

Chrystel Oloukoï (Harvard University)

Job Zwane (University of the Witwatersrand)

 

Author/Respondent

Laurent Fourchard (Sciences Po)

 

Preview available here: https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=lang_en&id=_oMlEAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR8&dq=%22saheed%20aderinto%22&ots=3zdbbrfS-c&sig=YSsXUeDKR5eN7tDeSqQtaiLmbs0&fbclid=IwAR3iitopwql9qeR5dmJ8V7RSGDWX31v9XsY8ALip3BgH8NASHwKbsnirxPE#v=onepage&q=%22saheed%20aderinto%22&f=false

 

 

The Metal Sculpture of Dotun Popoola edited by Moyo Okediji (101 Cavern & University of African Art, 2020)

This panel launches and presents a new book on the metal art of Dotun Poopola. Titled, The Metal Sculpture of Dotun Popoola, the book features an introduction by the editor, Moyo Okediji. The four art historians who have contributed the chapters to the book present their essays, while the subject of the book, Dotun Popoola, provides an autobiographical sketch.

The four essays in this book grapple with the dynamics of Popoola’s art and life as each writer maps an aspect of Popoola’s imaginative journey, all the back to his infancy. All the four essays provide insightful readings of Popoola’s metal sculpture, both from the structural and cultural perspectives. What all the writers agree upon is the slippery disposition of his work. They all describe the welded metals as sculptures, while acknowledging the painterly sensitivity of the surface treatments. They also fully recognize the enigmatic aspects of the Popoola’s work, which words fully fail to capture. What they all recognize in that elusive character of his work is that it speaks to the present era, using familiar cultural allusions and sophistical technical proficiency. Yet to be fully appreciated is the ways in which Popoola addresses posterity even more eloquently than his messages to the present age. Popoola’s surreptitious focus on possibilities and potentiality, rather than the crafty exterior probabilities, is an enchanting extension that enables him to dialogue with the unknown, the arcane, and inscrutable forces of deathlessness, known as the àìkú in his indigenous culture.

 

Panel Chair and Organizer: Moyo Okediji (University of Texas at Austin)

 

  1. Dotun Popoola’s Ecological Futurism by Moyo Okediji (University of Texas at Austin)
  2. Asaro: Dotun Popoola’s Evocative Hybrid Sculpturesby Michael Olusegun Fajuyigbe (Obafemi Awolowo University)
  3. Metal, Metaphor, and Materiality in the Synergetic Sculptures of Dotun Popoola by Kunle Filani (Federal College of Education, Lagos)
  4. Metal-Morphorsis: Dotun Popoola’s Zoomorphic Metaphorsby Kehinde Adepegba (Lagos State Polytechnic)
  5. Dotun Popoola: Style and Distinction in Welded Metal Art by Tolulope Sobowale (Olabisi Onabanjo University)

 

Artist/Respondent

Dotun Popoola (Metal Artist)

To learn more about Dotun Popoola’s work, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpC2xV-TNfI

 

Suitors are Scare in Lagos by Lola Akande (Tunmike Pages, 2020)

 From Itan Igbesi-Aiye Emi Segilola Eleyinju Ege, Elegberun Oko L’ Aiye (The Life History of Me Segilola Endowed with Fascinating Eyes, the Sweetheart of a Thousand and One Men, 1929-1930) to Cyprian Ekwensi’s People of the City (1954), the themes of love, sex, and romance have occupied central positions in literary imagination of Lagos and Lagosians. In domesticating the superfluous emotional energy of Lagos into textual narrative for a spectrum of reading publics, writers are preoccupied with establishing the peculiarity of the city, and more importantly, the unique character of Lagosians.

 Lola Akande’s new novel, Suitors are Scarce in Lagos, follows a century of literary impression on love, loving, and gender relations. Yet, the 21st century offers a unique perspective to uncovering the continuity and change in the lived experiences of Lagosians and how writers communicate them. This novel is a collection of ten short fictions. While the themes of each story differ, the overarching positioning of Lagos as the city of endless possibilities, enchanting color, and unparalleled glamor takes readers on a voyage of happiness and sorrow, and everything in-between. Suitors are Scare in Lagos is another deserving hat to Akande’s soaring reputation as a writer of note.

 

Panelists

Chair: Adeleke Adeeko (Ohio State University)

Discussants

Moradewun Adejunmobi (University of California-Davis)

Katherine Isobel Baxter (University of Northumbria)

Henry J. Hunjo (Lagos State University)

Olaocha Nwadiuto Nwabara (State University of New York, Geneseo)

Omotayo Oloruntoba-Oju (Adekunle Ajasin University)

 

Respondent/Author

Lola Akande (University of Lagos)

Google preview available here: https://www.amazon.com/Suitors-Are-Scarce…/dp/9789797370

 

An Economic History of West Africa [Second Edition] by A.G. Hopkins (Routledge 2020)

 About half a century ago, A.G. Hopkins published his seminal work, An Economic History of West Africa, a sine qua non for generation after generation of scholars of Africa. In the 1970s, the field of African economic history sought to correct the “elitism” of nationalist historiography by focusing on “ordinary” people and on economic forces behind political process and state building. The field has since undergone significant transformation since then.

 The second edition of An Economic History of West Africa has a new introduction, which according to Hopkins, “offers an assessment of the attributes and shortcomings of the book and draws attention to some of the many inviting prospects that await research.” It also has a considerable number of new citations that are “indicative rather than comprehensive, but they are ample enough to provide a route into the subject, which is now enjoying a revival among a wide range of historians and economists.” Lastly, the new introduction directs attention of non-Africanist scholars to “the extraordinary depth of research now available on the continent and the skill with which it has been recovered and analysed.”

 

Panelists

 

Chair: Joseph Inikori (University of Rochester)

 

Discussants

Bronwen Everill (University of Cambridge)

Jennifer Lofkrantz (St. Thomas University)

Olisa Muojama (University of Ibadan)

Olatunji Ojo (Brock University)

Ayodeji Olukoju (University of Lagos)

Marlous van Waijenburg (Harvard University)

 

Respondent/Author

A.G. Hopkins (University of Cambridge)

Google preview available here: https://www.amazon.com/Economic-History…/dp/0367002434

 

 

 Women and the Nigeria-Biafra War: Reframing Gender and Conflict in Africa edited by Gloria Chuku and Sussie Aham-Okoro (Lexington, 2020)

 Scholarship on the Nigerian Civil War has come of age. Before the end of the war in 1970, academic and popular writings began to emerge in response to the quest to understand its origin and dynamics. If the story of technological breakthrough of the Biafran military energized discourses on a truncated post-colonial industrialization, those on international relations revealed the vulnerability of nascent African states, like Nigeria, during the Cold War. After 1970, the consequences of the war on security and inter-ethnic relations became important subjects in academic and popular narratives of nation-building.

 As expansive as the scholarship on the Nigerian Civil War is, the place of women remains underrepresented and undervalued. In correcting this intellectual deficiency, Gloria Chuku and Sussie Aham-Okoro assembled fifteen critical essays that underscore women’s incredible agency and vulnerability. Women’s resilience during and after the war is an integral component of post-1970s identity formation that scholars of Nigeria have glossed over. The chapters in this book use previously untapped archival sources, memoirs, songs, material culture, and oral interviews to place women at the center of one of the most remarkable events in postcolonial Nigerian history. In women’s own voices, the book recovers narratives that go beyond establishing the rarely acknowledged contributions of women to the war. A major contribution to military history and women’s and gender studies, Women and the Nigeria-Biafra War has claimed a big space in Africanist scholarship.

 

Panelists

Chair: Tim Stapleton (University of Calgary)

 

Discussants

Taiwo Bello (University of Toronto)

Sam Daly (Duke University)

Efetobor Stephanie Effevottu (University of Ibadan)

Ngozika Obi-Ani (University of Nigeria)

Sarah J. Zimmerman (Western Washington University)

 

Editors/Respondents

Gloria Chuku and Sussie Aham-Okoro (University of Maryland – Baltimore County)

 

Available online: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781793617842/Women-and-the-Nigeria-Biafra-War-Reframing-Gender-and-Conflict-in-Africa?fbclid=IwAR0FN5dzYVxTv5ZYhn0M9rFIL9lRn_xtgk3bMDxL73lEXGsqCcBSmHHoZIw

 

 Atlantic Bonds: A Nineteenth-Century Odyssey from America to Africa by Lisa Lindsay (University of North Carolina Press, 2017)

 In this ground-breaking work, Lindsay creatively weaves micro and macro history of family and societies across the Atlantic to shed light on the life history of James Churchwill Vaughan (1828-1893), who moved from South Carolina in the United States in 1852 to present-day southwestern Nigeria, where he established a wealthy and politically successful lineage. Scaling multiple hurdles, including the devastation of the Yoruba civil wars and slave raiding, Vaughan’s extra-ordinary life in shifting circumstances, provides a clear window to viewing the ambivalence of freedom during the era of slavery and the imposition of British colonialism.

In uncovering Vaughan’s multi-layered life history, Lindsay visited libraries, archives, churches, cities, villages, graveyards, private homes, and museums in Nigeria, United States, Liberia, and Britain. Her ingenious writing style aligns perfectly with her deep scholastic interpretation of visual and textual sources to create a book that would serve as a template for future studies. “Atlantic Bonds” makes a solid contribution to a spectrum of fields—from genealogical to African, African Diaspora, and Atlantic studies—reemphasizing the indispensability of rigorous scholarship in uncovering the experience of makers of the past in the “fullest” possible way.

 

Panelists

Chair: Ayodeji Olukoju (University of Lagos)

 

Discussants

Ademide Adelusi-Adeluyi (University of California – Riverside)

Jody Benjamin (University of California – Riverside)

Eric Covey (Unaffiliated Scholar)

Olisa Muojama (University of Ibadan)

Habeeb Sanni (Lagos State University)

Remi Vaughan-Richards (Filmmaker)

Rotimi Vaughan (Independent Scholar)

 

Respondent/Author

Lisa Lindsay (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Available online: https://uncpress.org/book/9781469652153/atlantic-bonds/