African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships

Through fellowship competitions, regional workshops, and peer networking, the African Humanities Program provides support to the humanities in five African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. The centerpiece of the program is the distribution of fellowships to African scholars in these countries for work on dissertations, research projects, and scholarly manuscripts. Postdoctoral awards are listed below; also see dissertation completion awards.The program is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Read more about this fellowship program.

Please note: affiliations shown are as of time of award. Please click on fellows' names for current information.

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Watch "Emerging Themes and Methods of Research: A Discussion with ACLS Fellows," an annual meeting session featuring recent ACLS fellows. 

 

Rafatu Abdulhamid
Rafatu Abdulhamid  |  Abstract
Since the introduction of the expanded Shari'ah in some northen Nigerian states, some segments of the society have shown tremendous concern about the effects on the lives of Muslim women. Many, especially non-Muslims, believe that the Shari'ah legal system does not protect the rights of women. These critics cite the flogging of Bariya Magazu in Zamfara and the execution of Safiya Hussain in Tungari Tudubya'a Shari'ah Court in Sokoto, both for adultery convictions. This project uses primary and secondary sources to examine the impact of the re-introduction of Shari'ah on the rights and privileges of Muslim women of Sokoto and Zamfara States as they related to education, politics, economics, and criminal offences.

Lecturer, Philosophy & Religions, University of Abuja  -  Impacts of Shari'ah on the Life of Muslim Women of Sokoto and Zamfara States, Nigeria

Kizza Mukasa Jackson
Kizza Mukasa Jackson  |  Abstract
African proverbs are considered to have significant social functions in various communities where they are used, particularly when interlocutors exhibit some authority and oratorical skills in using them. By principally employing Critical Discourse Analysis, this study uses Luganda proverbs to investigate the connection between social relations, knowledge, and power in ongoing conversations. It examines how proverb performance reflects contemporary social life of the interlocutors. Specifically, the study examines how proverbs are initiated, maintained, reproduced, and transformed within social, economic, political, and historical contexts. The study contributes to our understanding of how proverb use enacts power relations, re-negotiates identities, and facilitates intertextual understanding of broader social and political currents, as well as elegant and artistic performances in daily social life.

Senior Lecturer, African Languages - Luganda, Makerere University  -  Critical Discourse Analysis of the Use of Luganda Proverbs

Victoria Oluremi Adeniyi
Victoria Oluremi Adeniyi  |  Abstract
This project investigates the evolution and development of Christian drama to understand how culture is defined, constructed, and reinforced among the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria. It focuses on representations of culture in the setting, theme, plot, story, characterisation, recurrent character types, and recurrent tropes and language, and explores how such representations are used to convert the viewers and members of the audience to Christianity, thereby spreading Christianity and multiplying churches. The project argues that Christian drama is a veritable site for the transmission of religious, cultural, social, and moral values.

Senior Lecturer, Dramatic Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University  -  A Sociocultural Study of Christian Drama in Southwestern Nigeria

Emmanuel Kayembe Kabemba
Emmanuel Kayembe Kabemba  |  Abstract
This project builds on Michael Andindilile's project "The Anglophone African Literary-Linguistic Continuum: English and Indigenous African Languages in African Literary Discourse" (see AHP Fellows 2009-2010) to examine the sociologic tension in the African literary field between choosing to write in international languages (such as English, French, Portuguese) and African languages (such as Swahili, Xhosa, Zulu, Kabyle or Berber, Mbundu.) The latter are generally considered to be national or ethnical mediums that could not allow writers to reach an international audience (the controversial use of Afrikaans or Arabic as literary idioms in the context of nationalist ideologies will also be studied as a special case). It is based on the very innovative concept of "champ littéraire" ("literary field") introduced by Pierre Bourdieu and successfully used by Pascale Casanova to explore the struggle for autonomy by writers from regions far removed from literary centers (London, Paris, Lisbon).

Tutor, Languages and Literature, University of Cape Town, South Africa  -  African Literary Field and the Challenge of Writing Languages

Abiodun Afolabi
Abiodun Afolabi  |  Abstract
The study examines the structural basis and varied impact of taxation and revolts among the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria between 1900 and 1970. The issues are explored from the perspective of the peasants while the cumulative impact is given a more scholarly attention. The policy makers of the period failed to resolve the traditional hostilities between the government and the governed, issues which became very critical for all stakeholders. The resulting political hostility dragged the entire polity into crisis and led to the assassination of chiefs and kings. Predatory leadership and insensitivity to peasant welfare undermined the relative peace in southwestern Nigerian. This research preserves the social memory of the 1968-69 Agbekoya movements through the collection and dissemination of literature on the major stakeholders in the tax revolts.

Archivist, National Archives, University of Ibadan  -  Taxation and Revolts among the Yoruba of Southwestern Nigeria, 1900 to 1970

Maxwell Kadenge
Maxwell Kadenge  |  Abstract
This project examines hiatus resolution and minimality in Nambya.The observed repair strategies have one main goal: to achieve the language’s preferred phonological structures, namely, the CV syllable structure and the disyllabic minimal word size. This study provides a formal analysis of when, how, and why one hiatus resolution strategy is chosen over others, since different morphosyntatic domains trigger different hiatus resolution strategies. The study uses the Morpheme-Based Template (MBT) theory to analyze minimality effects, and also employs Feature Geometry and Optimality Theory. It examines strategies that expand potentially monosyllabic words and block processes that threaten to reduce words to subminimal forms, and considers the minimal word condition and its interaction with the phonological, morphological, and syntactic phenomena in Nambya. This research demonstrates that in Nambya, where there is conflict between satisfying CV and minimality, minimality wins.

Lecturer, Linguisitics, University of Witwatersrand  -  Hiatus Resolution and Minimality Effects in Nambya

Komlan Agbedahin
Komlan Agbedahin  |  Abstract
Through a novel approach and with the aim of challenging conventional wisdom about the role of female young veterans (former girl-soldiers who have become young adults) in armed conflict situation, this research proves that there is a caveat to the scholarly apocalyptic description of former female child-soldiers. The available body of writing on child-soldiering tends to present them as social misfits, thus undermining their agency in the process of their reintegration. This study documents female young veterans' experiences and related meanings of the transition from military to civilian life; identifies the social ties they built and maintained in the post-conflict community, and the power dynamics embedded in these ties; unearths the nexus between young veterans' agency, coalitions, and identity shifts; and unpacks lessons learned by young veterans from their war and post-war experiences, and how these lessons orient their perspectives on the future and decision-making processes.

Researcher, Sociology, Rhodes University  -  Female Young Veterans, Not Always Social Misfits: Liberian Experiences

Oswald Jotam Masebo
Oswald Jotam Masebo  |  Abstract
This project examines the development of infant welfare interventions in colonial Tanzania from 1920 to 1950. The British colonial government first initiated the interventions in the early 1920s to deal with the perceived problem of high infant mortality. It proposed preventive medical programs to alleviate maternal ignorance through mothercraft classes, advice on infant care, and practical demonstrations on infant management in rural African communities. Effective implementation of the programs began in 1928. Peasant men and women, however, frequently interpreted the interventions as lacking the viability to achieve the intended objectives because they did not incorporate curative medicine. Through their local chiefs, these peasants demanded that the colonial government incorporate treatment of infant diseases as an integral component of the welfare programs. In response to this demand, the colonial government integrated preventive and curative medicine in the late 1930s. Using southwest Tanzania as a case study, this project argues that although colonial government officials initiated and implemented the infant welfare policy in the 1920s, the development of infant survival interventions from exclusive preventive educational programs in the 1920s and early 1930s to those that integrated preventive and curative medicines in the late 1930s was a negotiated process between peasant men and women, health officials, political administrators, local chiefs, and dressers. The project draws on a critical reading of oral sources, archival records, and letters that local chiefs wrote to articulate the unfolding negotiations that shaped the development of infant welfare interventions in colonial Tanzania.

Lecturer, History, University of Dar es Salaam  -  Society, State, and Infant Welfare: Negotiating Medical Interventions in Colonial Tanzania, 1920 to 1950

Anamzoya Alhassan Suleman
Anamzoya Alhassan Suleman  |  Abstract
This study investigates the private lives of Dagomba chiefs in Northern Ghana, breaking away from the largely institutional academic work on chieftaincy in Ghana. Concentrating on the private lives of three Dagomba chiefs, the study explores how they negotiate their everyday lives in their palaces, as husbands to their numerous wives, and, as fathers to their many children. It focuses on how they marry, control, and socialise their children, and how they undertake the daily administration of their households. The study also considers actors who influence the chiefs’ daily behavior. Data is collected from the three chiefs, their wives, their children, their elders, and their drummers. Methodology includes focus group discussions, observations, and in-depth interviews, using tools such as interview guides.

Lecturer, Sociology, University of Ghana  -  Opening a Door into the Private Lives of Dagomba Chiefs in Northern Ghana

Bernard Matolino
Bernard Matolino  |  Abstract
This work investigates the conceptual foundation of consensus as a form of democracy. In light of Africa's failure to democratize, it establishes whether consensus is a viable form of democracy. The project proceeds from the celebrated African philosopher Kwasi Wiredu's attempts at i) defining consensus as democracy, and ii) arguing for the adavantages that consenus has over its majoriatarian counterpart. This study argues that while the project envisaged by Wiredu has some initial attractions, it is immediately faced with certain conseptual difficulties that need clarification. Chief among these concerns are: i) the interpretation of consensus as democracy, ii) the nature and function of political parties in a consensual polity, and iii) the problem of normative diversity in modern African states.

Senior Lecturer, Philosophy & Ethics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa  -  Consensus and Democracy in African Political Philosophy

Vera Ekuwa Mansa Arhin
Vera Ekuwa Mansa Arhin  |  Abstract
This research studies Ghanaian ESL undergraduate learners find the extent to which the rhetorical structure and norms of the oral Akan discourse community affects language use in academic contexts. It argues that some oral and cultural rhetorical practices of the subjects, such as face to face strategies of conversational norm, story-telling elements that employ imaginative and metaphorical dimensions of language, and argument structure based on the collectivist nature of an oral culture influence the text construction process. This qualitative research, based on analyses of the structure of oral Akan discourse, interviews, and 200 witting samples of undergraduate essays from a range of disciplines in the humanities and the sciences (levels 100-400 students), establishes that for these L2 subjects, antecedent genres of L1 oral Akan culture interact with new norms of writing in English.

Research Fellow, Language, University of Ghana  -  Oral Akan Discourse and its Influence on the Construction of Academic Disciplinary Genres

Itoro Anietie Michael
Itoro Anietie Michael  |  Abstract
The project examines the use of the proverb-riddle in Anaang, an endangered language in southern Nigeria. The study focuses on four Anaang dialects: the Abak, Ika, Ikot-Ekpene, and Ukanafun linguistics areas. The project focuses on the sociocultural and grammatical relevance of a largely neglected aspect of African verbal arts. Relying on structured interviews, observations, audiovisual recordings, and focused group interviews, the study analyzes the established verbal convention that is significant to Anaang tradition and sociocultural heritage. The application of sound, tone rhythm, and syllable in the proverb-riddle supply significant phonetic/grammatical information that is relevant to African verbal art. Proverb-riddle comprises two parts: ‘a call and its response.’ The application of instrumental analysis shows that the understanding of the proverb-riddle depends deeply on the additional quality of similar metrical and phonetic components of the call and its response. The study establishes broad tendencies in cross linguistics and sociocultural studies.

Lecturer, Linguistics, University of Uyo  -  A Socio-Phonetic Study of Proverb-Riddle as an Aspect of Verbal Art in Traditional Anaang, Southern Nigeria

Noah Echa Attah
Noah Echa Attah  |  Abstract
This project uses both primary and secondary materials to examine the growing wave of land grabbing in Nigeria. Transnational companies and other investors are acquiring land in Nigeria for agro-fuels and food production, which are ultimately exported. However, the government, as represented by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is also a major player in the land grab for agro-fuels despite its fossil oil reserve. The fact that much of this land is being acquired to provide for the fuel and food needs of foreign nations at the expense of Nigerians has, not surprisingly, led to allegations that a neo-colonial push is underway to annex one of the country’s key natural resources. This study therefore examines the roles of foreign investors in collusion with the Nigerian state in dispossessing the people of their land.

Lecturer, History & International Studies, Osun State University  -  Possession by Dispossession: Interrogating the Growing New Wave of Investments and Land Grabbing in Nigeria

Kassomo Athanas Mkallyah
Kassomo Athanas Mkallyah  |  Abstract
This study examines the affects and effects of indigenous Tanzanian music traditions used in church worship in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It determines the specific musical and cultural attributes that make indigenous Tanzanian music traditions effective when employed in church worship in Dar es Salaam. The study proposes that the power of indigenous Tanzanian music traditions in creating a heightened religious experience is inherent in the music itself and in its cultural affiliation. It reveals that the power of indigenous Tanzanian music to arouse deep and demonstrable emotions among church members is attributable to the characteristics of the music and its cultural usage. The strength of these culturally rich indigenous Tanzanian music traditions can be traced to their African origins and the traditional attributes and aesthetics that provoke a heightened religious experience during worship.

Instructor, Fine and Performing Arts, University of Dar es Salaam  -  Affects and Effects of Indigenous Tanzanian Music Traditions in Christian Church Worship in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Ian Bekker
Ian Bekker  |  Abstract
This project focuses on the linguistic formation of South African English (SAE). It provides evidence for a three-stage koineization model of the formation of this dialect of English: the 1820 settlement of the Eastern Cape; the 1840-50 colonisation of Natal; and the late nineteenth-century gold-rush to Johannesburg. The reconstruction of SAE's formation provides valuable insight into SAE's role vis-à-vis a number of theoretical frameworks and issues. In particular, it provides valuable information for ongoing international research into koinization (e.g. Cheshire et. al. 2011), new-dialect formation (Trudgill 2004), and the role of language and dialect contact in the etiology of language change.

Associate Professor, Languages, North-West University  -  The Linguistic Formation of South African English

Ngusekela Mona Mwakalinga
Ngusekela Mona Mwakalinga  |  Abstract
This study examines the cinematic flow of the Tanzanian video film industry from 1990s-2011 and assesses how, through its border crossing nature in terms of production, distribution, and consumption, it has become a transnational cinema: one that transcends borders and captures the imagination of the Tanzanian people, the diaspora, and beyond. Through a transnational theoretical framework, this study explains how Tanzanian video films, rooted in the local/global cinematic landscape, create dialogue among geographically diverse communities in Africa and beyond. Video and films under consideration include “Maangamizi: the Ancient One” (2001), “Dar 2 Lagos” (2006), “A Trip to America” (2009), “Tusamehe” (2005), “Bongoland” (2003), and “Bongoland II: There is No Place Like Home” (2008) to elaborate this transnational connection and examine its impact on the reception of Tanzanian cinema at home and abroad.

Lecturer, Fine and Performing Arts, University of Dar es Salaam  -  Interpreting Tanzanian Cinema through a Transnational Lens

Koni Benson
Koni Benson  |  Abstract
This project documents the life histories of African women involved in movements for urban survival, in particular housing, over the last 40 years in South Africa by linking and comparing two moments of collective organizing in the shack/township of Crossroads, the longest surviving squatter camp in South Africa. The first case study looks at leaders of the 1970s who repeatedly resisted forced removals to the Bantustans, spearheading a struggle for tenure rights which continues today. The second case studies the Women’s Power Group: 300 squatters who came together in the late 1990s to demand government accountability of funds for undelivered housing. In both cases, there were serious punitive repercussions for individuals as well as gender-based organizations that challenges power dynamics and development practices. These movements are important windows into the gendered and generational dynamics of labor migration, displacement, poverty, and housing over time, and highlight the central role of women in apartheid resistance and squatter struggles over slum clearance today. The project contributes to scholarly work that challenges dominant narratives of apartheid struggles and ongoing urban development controversies in the global south today.

Visiting Research Associate, Historical Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa  -  Struggles within Struggles: Histories of Development, Displacement, and Demobilization of African Women’s Movements for Urban Survival in South Africa’s Past and Future

Jacinta Chiamaka Nwaka
Jacinta Chiamaka Nwaka  |  Abstract
The Nigerian fourth republic opened a chapter of incessant violent eruptions in a traditionally perceived peaceful city of Jos. The conflict between the Jos native-indigenes and the Hausa-Fulani settlers has proven a major challenge to the country's fledging democracy. If Jos has been a peaceful home for the two groups, what explains the dramatic turn from cooperation and accomodation to hostility and violence? Is this conflict purely contemporaneous? What is the historical explanation of the conflict? The study historicizes the Jos conflict to identify its patterns of manifestations overtime; the forces and logic behind the sudden change in the nature of inter-group relations; and its implications for a stable Nigeria and global peace. The study relies heavily on primary sources, mostly archival documents and oral interviews. Some extant literature is used where necessary, and data is subjected to content analysis.

Lecturer, History & International Studies, University of Benin  -  Inter-Group Relations in a Nigerian City: A Historical Explanation of Jos Conflict

Sylvia Bruinders
Sylvia Bruinders  |  Abstract
This project is an ethnography of the Christmas Bands Movement in the Western Cape, South Africa. It explores how members of the bands constitute themselves as respectable members of society through disciplinary routines, uniform dress, and military gestures, using Foucault’s notion of embodied subjectivity to interpret how certain members of the Christmas Bands construct their subjectivities as individuals and as collectives. Theoretical discussion engages broadly with international scholarship on various topics such as music and subjectivity, native ethnography, Third World feminist scholarship, gender and masculinity, from musical orality to literacy, masking as transformative, and loss of place.

Lecturer, Music, University of Cape Town, South Africa  -  Parading Respectability: The Cutural and Moral Aesthetics of the Christmas Bands Movement in the Western Cape, South Africa

Kayode Omoniyi Ogunfolabi
Kayode Omoniyi Ogunfolabi  |  Abstract
This project focuses on the overwhelming thematic presence of women’s personal traumatic experiences and the boom in the articulation of sexuality in recent fiction by Nigerian women. The selected representative texts are Atta’s Everything Good Will Come, Kaine Agary’s Yellow Yellow, Lola Soneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, and Helen Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl. The texts are set in dialogue with trauma theories, with emphasis on how the selected works operate as performative testimonies. The study anticipates the potential to interpret this new development in Nigerian literature as voicing repressed stories of trauma onto the palimpsest of canonical Nigerian fiction, which has yet to create enough space for them. It is hoped that this work can explain how textualizing trauma as public discourse questions the “national allegory” tradition while embracing and threatening the ostensibly stable and transparent dominant discourse of realism.

Lecturer, English, Obafemi Awolowo University  -  Private Stories, Public Discourse: Textualizing Trauma in Recent Nigerian Women’s Fiction

Pastory Magayane Bushozi
Pastory Magayane Bushozi  |  Abstract
The material culture of the Middle Stone Age (MSA) people is believed to represent a significant step towards the development of modern behavior. One of the most important sites which contain archaeological records of the MSA and later cultures is Magubike rock-shelter. The upper levels of the cultural deposits at Magubike were radiocarbon dated around 42,000 ya, representing a period in which the extremely dry and arid environment restricted human settlements to a few areas. The unfriendly environment led to the first dispersal of Homo sapiens from Africa to Eurasia. This dispersal has long been thought to mark a significant shift to more complex technology and cognitive behavior, including the production of labor-intensive implements, utilization of diversified food resources, and manufacturing of symbolic objects. The mode of these technological and behavioral shifts is a hotly debated topic in archaeology. This project contributes to the ongoing discussion by providing new data from recent technological and use-wear studies on the MSA artifacts from Magubike.

Lecturer, History and Archaeology, University of Dar es Salaam  -  The Archaeological Investigation on Human Cultural Evolution at Magubike, Iringa, Tanzania

Ogaga Doherty Abraham Okuyade
Ogaga Doherty Abraham Okuyade  |  Abstract
The Bildungsroman (Narrative of Growth) has been extensively studied in the West, but scholarly works on it in Africa are very few. This could be attributed to the fact that these narratives are sometimes treated as juvenile fiction because they feature a child. This study examines the resuscitation, reconfiguration, and domestication of the Bildungsroman by African writers who claim subject status for hitherto invisible and marginalized groups in postcolonial African society. Through analysis of carefully selected texts, the study counters the reductionist claims that most twenty-first century African narratives that fall within the latitude of the Bildungsroman belong in the category of children’s literature because they engage issues too complex for juvenile fiction. The study also articulates how female writers subvert the traditional Bildungsroman and negate the misprisions of the Eurocentric male-centered Bildungsroman, rethink marriage plots,and provide literary explorations of feminist activism and nationalism.

Lecturer, English, College of Education, Warri  -  Variants of a Species: Retheorising the Postcolonial African Female Bildungsroman

Chinwe Roseann Ezeifeka
Chinwe Roseann Ezeifeka  |  Abstract
Language, in transmitting culture, experiences, and worldviews, can be instrumental to the production of social stereotypes and stigmatized expressions where the linguistic representations of some individuals or groups are cast in apparently irreversible social molds. This work documents the various forms of gender stereotypes evident in selected Igbo folk expressions such as proverbs, metaphors, names, songs, and taboo expressions, and argues that these expressions perpetuate asymmetrical representations and biased ideological positions that are counter-productive to sustainable development. The inequities ingrained in and legitimized by these expressions are critically examined through the perspectives of critical discourse analysis (CDA), a qualitative research paradigm that scrutinizes texts and discursive practices to reveal underlying repressions and dominance. The work therefore aims at creating awareness of the social injustices and retrogressive potentials of these stereotypes, which have hitherto been taken for granted as 'given' and as 'orders of discourse' for reappraissal and possibe redress.

Lecturer, English Language and Literature, Nnamdi Azikiwe University  -  Gender Stereotypes in Selected Igbo Folk Expressions: The Critical Discourse Analysis Perspective

Adeniyi Oluwagbemiga Osunbade
Adeniyi Oluwagbemiga Osunbade  |  Abstract
Humanistic studies on conflict have shuttled between natural conflicts and preternatural conflicts, with more concentration on the former. These studies have addressed the structural properties of conflict, the communicative strategies of conducting conflict, and western and indigenous means of conflict resolution from the anthropological, sociological, and linguistic perspectives. However, little research has been done on preternatural conflict in humanistic scholarship in Nigeria, especially from the linguistic perspective. This study examine the mediations of Orunmila in preternatural conflict management by exploring the contextual adaptability of Ifa divination discourses (i.e. ese Ifa) to conflict-motivated consultative sessions with the aim of determining the pragmatic strategies engaged in them in the diviners’ conflict-mediation efforts, using insights from Mey’s (2001) pragmatic acts and the pragmatic maxims of cooperative and politeness advanced by Grice (1975) and Leech (1983), thereby filling the existing gap in conflict discourse in linguistic research.

Lecturer, General Studies, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology  -  Pragmatic Strategies in Conflict-mediation Discourses of Ifa Diviners in Southwestern Nigeria

Nathan Osita Ezeliora
Nathan Osita Ezeliora  |  Abstract
Although his reputation as one of the most percipient voices in African literature is yet to be properly acknowledged, Lewis Nkosi stands out as a scholar whose immense contributions to the growth and development of African literature can only be underrated at the peril of Africa’s humanistic studies. At a time when mimesis was given primacy as a basic paradigm in literary scholarship, Nkosi opted for some form of newness by making very provocative proclamations that made many of his contemporaries very uncomfortable. It is interesting that at that time when the traditional tropes of criticism were built on the two troublesome paradigms of ‘content and form,’ Nkosi would point to what is today being valorised in some circles as postmodernism or experimental writing. Significantly, there have been miss-readings of Nkosi’s statement to imply that Black writing in apartheid South Africa is too easily predictable. This project engages the theoretical and creative writings of Lewis Nkosi as a postcolonial exploration of the ethics and aesthetics of newness.

Lecturer, English, Olabisi Onabanjo University  -  Lewis Nkosi (1936 to 2010): The Postcolonial Imagination and the Poetics of Newness

Nkosinathi Sithole
Nkosinathi Sithole  |  Abstract
This is a comparative study addressing the issue of literary merit in the works of black South African writers writing in African languages and those writing in English. While African-language literature has been accused of being 'childish' and 'immature,' African languages are also known for the lack of critical scholarship (Maake, 2000). This project provides an extensive study of the IsiZulu literature published between the 1950s and 1960s. This literature is compared and contrasted with English literature by black South African writers in the same period. The reason for this comparative analysis is that while African-language literature has been criticised for shuning politics, writings by 'committed' black writers using English has been criticised for its engagement with politics.

Lecturer, Literary studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa  -  African-Language Literature and South African Literature: Literary Merit and Politics in Literature

Rotimi Omoyele Fasan
Rotimi Omoyele Fasan  |  Abstract
One outcome of the media-driven space of “postcolonial” Nigeria is the role of orality and the verbal artist in reinscribing indigenous languages and culture into popular acceptance and contemporary history. Emerging mass culture in the verbal arts, signposting Nigeria’s entry into the postcolonial/postmodernist phase, has helped in creating a site of cultural identity very much at variance with the one imposed by British rule. Such reconstitution of the colonial/indigenous subject via the “vernacular” medium of popular culture is a sometimes unconscious and often decanonical enterprise that displaces English and other foreign codes as signs of “high” culture and civilisation, providing as an alternative a metissage of signs whose ultimate outcome could be positive for the overall development of society. With insights gained from literary, postcolonial, and cultural studies, this study explores the theme of national identity implicit in the efflorescence of indigenous languages in popular cultural practices in Nigeria.

Lecturer, Humanities & Culture, Osun State University  -  Popular Art, Alternative Imaginaries, and Being Retrieval

Kylie Thomas
Kylie Thomas  |  Abstract
This project analyses the relation between violence during and after apartheid and culminates in a book and an exhibition of archival photographs. The premise of the study is that there is much that remains unspoken about the violence of the past and there is a great deal of critical work to be done in understanding the violence of the present. This research employs an interdisciplinary approach working across the bounds of anthropology, history, and visual studies. The project focuses on photographs that engage with three aspects of violence in the past and present: violence against children, gender-based violence, and vigilantism and mob justice.

Researcher, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape  -  (In)Visible Violence: Researching Visual Archives for Lost Histories

Fusheini Hudu
Fusheini Hudu  |  Abstract
This project investigates theoretical issues at the phonology-morphology interface, focusing on reduplication, lenition, vowel harmony, and tone in all dialects of Dagbani, a Gur language of Ghana. Research on the phonology-morphology interface is necessary to understand both domains of linguistics and for motivating linguistic theories. For instance, processes of sound weakening are phonological. However, in Dagbani, they take place within the morphological domain. Conversely, reduplication, a morphological processe, is often masked by phonological processes like vowel harmony; it cannot be analysed without recourse to the phonology. Preliminary evidence also shows that certain morphological processes that occurred historically have triggered tonal patterns unique to some Dagbani dialects. Previous research may not have discovered these patterns because of undue focus on one dialect of Dagbani or the inadequate research into the morphophonology. This project intends to fill both gaps.

Lecturer, Linguistics, University of Ghana  -  Theoretical Issues in Dagbani Phonology-Morphology Interface: A Cross-Dialectal Investigation

Jill Frances Weintroub
Jill Frances Weintroub  |  Abstract
This biography examines the life and work of Dorothea Bleek and probes the silence around her lifetime of research. In critically assessing the breadth and range of her scholarship, the study examines Bleek's fieldwork and rock art research and situates these within trajectories of knowledge production in the emerging academic and institutional landscapes of southern Africa in the opening decades of the twentieth century. It discusses the impact of her work in terms of structuring and formalising the "field" and “fieldwork” as method and practice in the human sciences and archaeology, and also in terms of its contribution to the concept "bushman" that remains persistent into the present. It furthermore considers ways in which Bleek’s life and scholarship may disrupt gendered lineages of biographic and intellectual histories through which South Africa’s past has been narrated.

Research Fellow, Rock Art Research Institute, University of Witwatersrand  -  "Offered to the World": An Intellectual Biography of the Life and Scholoarship of Dorothea Bleek