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.

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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. 

 

Romanus Agianpuye Aboh
Romanus Agianpuye Aboh  |  Abstract
The majority of studies on Nigerian novels, from linguistic perspectives, have concentrated mostly on stylistic and semantic components, keeping silent on how linguistic resources are utilized to create and negotiate identities. This study, therefore, investigates the use of language in context-specific ways in the construction of ethnicity and ethnic identity in Nigerian novels. This is an attempt to indicate how certain linguistic forms are deployed to signal ethnicity and ethnic affiliations. Liwhu Betiang’s “Cradle on the Scale”, Helon Habila’s “Measuring Time”, E. E. Sule’s “Sterile Sky”, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Half of a Yellow Sun”, Ngozi Achebe’s “Onaedo the Blacksmith’s Daughter” and Sefi Atta’s “A Bit of Difference” are sampled texts. These texts are read critically, applying aspects of socio-ethno-linguistic framework that accounts for ethnicity and ethnic identity construction. It is hoped that this study indicates the interconnectivity and interdependence between language and identity construction in the Nigerian novel.

Lecturer I, English, University of Uyo  -  Ethnicity and Ethnic Identity Construction in Selected Nigerian Novels

Elizabeth Kyazike
Elizabeth Kyazike  |  Abstract
The coexistence and overlap of Kansyore (LSA) and Urewe pottery (IA) in time and space has been reported at several East African sites and at Kansyore Island in particular. However, why and how this occurred is not clear due to the assumption of accidental mixture. The proposed project aims at examining the cultural characteristics of the LSA/IA interaction at Kansyore Island. The objectives of the project will be examining the cultural behavior of the Later Stone Age and Iron Age people and date the site. In so doing the research will examine models of hunter-gatherer and food production interaction, settlement and mobility patterns that characterized the LSA/IA transition period. This will entail focus on mainly pottery decoration and associated artefacts such as lithics (stone artifacts) and faunal remains (bone and shells). The project will utilize archaeological survey and excavation supplemented by written literature and ethnographic inquiries.

Lecturer, History & Political Science, Kyambogo University  -  Later Stone Age and Iron Age Cultures at Kansyore Island in Western Uganda

Ameh Dennis Akoh
Ameh Dennis Akoh  |  Abstract
This study (which is a book proposal) observes that of all the many critical works on Femi Osofisan as a renowned Nigerian dramatist, no single book has been devoted to his adapted plays. This study identifies him as the most prolific and adept in adaptation in Nigerian drama. Using the contextual and critical methods of analysis, the study thus takes a fresh look at the dramatic adaptations of Osofisan beyond the mere creative enterprise of transposition for the sake of meta-textual thematic universalism and argues that Osofisan’s dramatic adaptations fall strictly under the drama of postcolonial angst that not only interrogates received history but also received dramatic canons. His adaptations are, simply, not continuations of European models but revisions which we term here as counter discourses and which evidently pass as a postcolonial gaze in the Foucauldian sense where we see ourselves rather than how we are being seen.

Associate Professor, Theatre Arts, Osun State University  -  Femi Osofisan: Adaptation as Counter-discourse in Nigerian Drama

Amani Lusekelo
Amani Lusekelo  |  Abstract
Hadzabe culture of hunter-gatherer in Tanzania, is endangered by pressure from agriculturalists, agro-pastoralists and pastoralists, western modernisation and government schemes. The focus of this project is to document indigenous knowledge system of the Hadzabe as obtained in their homeland. It deals with names and naming strategies, one of the cultural practises cherished in African communities. It is the goal of this project to ducument the Hadzabe naming practices in order to contribute to the large African naming culture. Second, since Hadzabe is a nomadic community, their movements might be controlled by the use of different mechanisms, e.g. the sky, forestlands, water sources etc., as the systems of cardinal directions are unavailable in Africa (Lusekelo 2012). We need to have a better understanding of the way the Hadzabe communicate with regard to directions. Lastly, we know very little about the sociolinguistic situation in Hadzabe speaking community: which other languages they speak, their language attitudes, their competence in the various languages etc. In order to do a proper documentation, we had a groundwork on Hadzabe villages.

Lecturer, Lingusitics, University of Dar es Salaam  -  The Documentation of the Culture of the Hunter-gatherer Hadzabe Community in Tanzania

Stephen Ouma Akoth
Stephen Ouma Akoth  |  Abstract
The postcolonial moment seem to be characterized with uncertainty over what is the most appropriate mode of progress and modernity. While numerous ideas have been used to describe this modernity (ies), the 21st century has witnessed an inexorable rise of the application of International Human Rights Law. For this reason, many contemporary observers refer to 21st Century as an ‘Era of Human Rights’. Often, several African states promote ‘era of human rights’ as one culture (culture of human rights) and multiculturalism as separate and distinct (cultures of the nation). My project reviews the historical development of human rights in Kenya and particularly about production of human rights in colonial times to contemporary western Kenya. This is an ethnography from Luo people of western Kenya, of how people visualize the rights reality as made up of living assembles that juxtapose and inter-relate different materials thus embracing notions associated with the aspects of both ‘modernities’.

Research Fellow, Anthropology, University of the Western Cape  -  Human Rights Modernities: Practices of Luo Councils of Elders in Contemporary Western Kenya

Edwinus Chrisantus Lyaya
Edwinus Chrisantus Lyaya  |  Abstract
For a long time the history of iron production has generally been thought to follow a two-stage process (smelting and smithing) worldwide, but a doctoral work has recently verified the presence of an intermediate iron refining stage situated between the two popular processes (see Lyaya 2013). In addition, there are published ethnographic works on some ironworking societies that followed the three-stage iron production process in Zambia (see Chaplin 1961; Fagan 1962; Phillipson 1968), but no one has attempted to archaeologically verify the oral accounts on this tradition. This work will examine archaeologically the presence of this overlooked iron tradition in Lusaka, Zambia. To this end, archaeological surface and sub-surface surveys, excavation, and lab analytical techniques will be used to gather and generate data for the research problem.

Lecturer, Archaeology and Heritage, University of Dar es Salaam  -  Examining the Archaeology of an Overlooked Three-Stage Iron Tradition in Lusaka, Zambia

Adetunji Isiaka Azeez
Adetunji Isiaka Azeez  |  Abstract
This study critically explores the vexatious issues of same-sex erotic and identities in Nigerian (Nollywood) and Ghanaian (Ghallywood) movies. Inspired by cultural and official homophobic position of both countries, this project proposes that Nigerian and Ghanaian filmmakers are critically challenging their societies to re-examine their homophobic stances. Using queer theory, a theory that interrogates social, political and psychological relations between sex, gender and sexual desires and orientations, it critically examines eight queer-themed movies, Men in Love ((2010), Emotional Crack (2003), Confusion Na Wa, Lesbian 2013) – Nigerian- and Jezebel (2009), House of Gold (2013) , Gay Pastors (2012) and 4Play (2011) - (Ghanaian) to posit that there is growing interest in gay and lesbian identities in both countries and that these film industries are a vibrant site for the assessment of the debate and contest between primordial homophobic perspectives and a growing but closeted and marginalized gay, lesbian and bisexual communities.

Senior Lecturer, Lagos State University  -  Beyond Cultural and Legislative Strictures: Gay and Lesbian Identities in Nigerian and Ghanaian Movies

Mohammed Majeed
Mohammed Majeed  |  Abstract
The concept of reincarnation in Akan and, to some extent, African philosophical thought has not been very much examined by scholars. The few who have done so, have erroneously argued that belief in reincarnation is nonexistent in African thought. These scholars include J. S. Mbiti and E. B. Idowu. But, this work argues that a good understanding of the Ghanaian Akan culture should suggest the presence of reincarnation in Akan and, indeed, African thought. The implications of reincarnation are also examined in connection with predestination and moral responsibility in Akan thought. In the absence of sufficient scholarly literature – especially, on the subject of reincarnation – the work also resorts to a combination of sources of indigenous knowledge for the analysis and clarification of the above-mentioned Akan philosophical concepts. These include the qualitative methods of linguistic analysis and the use of proverbs.

Lecturer, Philosophy & Classics, University of Ghana  -  Reincarnation, Predestination And Moral Responsibility: Critical Issues In Akan Philosophical Thought

Reason Beremauro
Reason Beremauro  |  Abstract
This project seeks to examine two issues arising out of a specific locality in innercity Johannesburg- the Central Methodist Church- a labyrinthine six-storey building that for a number of years accomodated thousands of displaced individuals from Zimbabwe. In the first instance the project focuses on the practicalities, rationalities and understandings that inform humanitarian organizations and the interventions instituted to assist individuals. Secondly, the project examines how these interventions articulate with the realities and aspirations of individuals that have traditionally moved in pursuit of livelihoods by detailing their experiences and livelihood strategies. The study will provide an ethnographic and nuanced analysis of what happens when individuals living within the margins of society are forced, through circumscribed options, to access social benefits and rights through acsribing to humanitarian categories. The project aims to make a contribution to the discourse on migration, indigence, victimhood and the practices of humanitarian institutions.

, Anthropology, University of Pretoria  -  The Realm of Compassion: Humanitarian Interventions and the Everyday Life of Migrants in Johannesburg

Abdullah Mohammed
Abdullah Mohammed  |  Abstract
This study explores the reception of Darwin’s Nightmare (2004), a controversial documentary film set in Tanzania, which the Tanzanian government banned. Through an audience reception study approach, the study investigates how the Tanzanian public received, reacted and interpreted the banned film soon after its release and after the ban. The unrelenting interest of people to watch the film and the means by which they view it instigates the desire to undertake this inquiry. Drawing from archival resources and interviews the study seeks to unveil how the general public code and decode the film and more so how the banning of the film impact their decision to watch or not watch the film.

Lecturer, Fine & Performing Arts, University of Dar es Salaam  -  Unveiling Dreams and Nightmares in Hubert Sauper’s Darwin’s Nightmare, 2004

Maria Elizabeth Botha
Maria Elizabeth Botha  |  Abstract
My research will investigate the relationship between memory, trauma and culture in the narratives of South African women focusing on their experiences of life in prison and/or exile. The chosen autobiographies emphasize trauma sustained in South Africa’s politicized society. The texts focusing on exile and prison life are predominantly written in prose form and often presented as a journal. They reflect the historical moment when they were written and illuminate the concepts of intersubjective and collective memory in the formation of a cultural identity. Current women’s prison writing in the form of poetry, which is not widely available, will be analyzed as examples of trauma therapy.The research is of importance because it investigates questions of memory, trauma, culture and gender as represented in politically inflicted trauma life narratives of South African women as opposed to the majority of studies which center on South African men in prison/exile.

, Literature, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University  -  Memory, Trauma and Culture in South African Women’s Prison and Exile Life Narratives

Isaac Ndlovu
Isaac Ndlovu  |  Abstract
The Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo became a colonial town on 4 November 1894 and a city in 1943. By 1980 when Zimbabwe attained independence, Bulawayo had become a bustling regional centre of strategic commercial importance. Most research about Bulawayo starts in 1893 when the colonial flag was raised over the smouldering huts of Lobengula’s great city of huts. Researching Bulawayo this way suggests that there was no urban life before the establishment of the colonial town. Available documents show that this view is false and misleading. My proposed book manuscript seeks to (re)examine selected auto/biographies, letters, diaries and other written documents that present personal histories that seek to articulate the historicity of their authors’ Bulawayo situatedness. The focus is on texts that purport to give an objective view of various facets of the city of Bulawayo from the time it was founded by king Lobengula in 1870 up to 1980.

Lecturer, English, University of Venda  -  Traces, Tracks and Trails: Documented and Documenting Bulawayo, 1870 to 1980

Oluwole Michael Coker
Oluwole Michael Coker  |  Abstract
African literature is synonymous with socio-historical engagement. This study examines the strategies employed by third-generation African novelists in deepening the tradition of commitment in African creative enterprise. The study is theoretically grounded in Psychoanalysis (Freudian and Lacanian ) and New Historicism. It involves close and comparative readings of the purposively selected texts: Doreen Baigana’s Tropical Fish, Chimamanda Adicie’s Purple Hibiscus and Mukoma wa Ngugi’s Nairobi Heat , No Violet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names and Henrietta Rose Innes The Rock Alphabet. The research explicates the significance of identified strategies of engagement namely child narration, development fiction and quest for justice deployed to engage the postcolonial realities in the selected texts. Third-generation African novelists are thus re-affirming the agency of imaginative literature in the task of social-re-engineering in the twenty-first century post-independence African society.

Lecturer I, English, Obafemi Awolowo University  -  Navigating the Post-Colony: Engagement Strategies in Post-Independence African Fiction

Amy Niang
Amy Niang  |  Abstract
The projected book argues that the history of the Mossi state (16-19C) is characterized by a battle of representations between Naam (political authority), a homogenisation and hierarchisation project on one hand, and Tenga (earth priesthood) articulated around a notion of social morality and order. The success of the centralised state model resulted from a double process whereby internal dissent against the state model, in the form of open rebellion or silent defiance was often framed in the language of the state, so much so that alternative reconstructions of/against the state seemed to remain within the dominant order. The book therefore offers an alternative reading of African state formation—and subsequent institutional struggles, from internal, rather than external dynamics.

Lecturer, Political Science, University of Witwatersrand  -  An Idea on the Move: History of State Formation in the Voltaic Region, Sixteenth to Nineteenth Century

Bernard Michael Dubbeld
Bernard Michael Dubbeld  |  Abstract
This proposed book addresses how the future, and an idea of freedom that the overcoming of apartheid implied, appears to residents of a village in the Post-apartheid countryside. Building on recent readings of contemporary South Africa that point to a growing ambivalence among many citizens towards freedom and the future (Dlamini 2010, Hansen 2012), Unsettled Futures traces, materially, the profound uncertainties in this village. In a place that in the last decade has been remade by government housing and state social grants, houses have not meant security or stability and movement has not meant freedom. Instead, the book shows how residents' hopes for the future are simultaneously pinned on more state intervention and an escape from this government-aided village. An ethnography of a Post-Apartheid village, Unsettled Futures engages recent discussions on state dependence and freedom (Ferguson 2013), and analyzes the future of democratic project in South Africa and beyond.

Senior Lecturer, Sociology and Social Anthropology, Stellenbosch University  -  Unsettled Futures: The Paradoxes of the Post-apartheid Project in the Countryside

Izuchukwu Ernest Nwankwo
Izuchukwu Ernest Nwankwo  |  Abstract
Popular genres like stand-up comedy and Nollywood (Nigeria's video film industry) have gradually taken over sites hitherto occupied by more conventional forms like theatre and cinema. Their ascendancy to prominence allies with the global transcendancy of pop culture like rap over classical, kitsch against regular arts, and the likes. However, in spite of its popularity, stand-up comedy has received little or no critical attention in Nigeria until very recently. This work will therefore provide a schorlarly enquiry on Nigeria's stand-up comedy, first as a postcolonial art form which accords new voices to the previously downtrodden; then as theatrical art imbued with all necessary elements like audience, space, performance and a performer. Homi Bhabha's postcolonial theory of hybridity will be deployed to explicate on the potpourri influences that Nigeria's stand-up art has had, whereas the duo of Eugenio Barba's Theatre Anthropology and Jerzy Grotowski's Poor Theatre are useful in designating stand-up arts as theatre. By purposive sampling, the stage acts of four Nigerian stand-up comedians--AY, Basket Mouth, I Go Die, and Klint da Drunk will be interrogated using close reading and performance analyses.

Lecturer II, English, Gombe State University  -  Study of Nigeria's Stand-Up Comedy as Theatre Using Theories in Anthropology, Theatre and Performance Studies

Olumide Victor Ekanade
Olumide Victor Ekanade  |  Abstract
A lot has been written on the economic value of social networks in Informal economies yet so little emphasis is laid on its functionality in the organization of social existence outside the framework of the state. This work examines the evolution and dynamics of diverse associations and their intersecting interactions in Ladipo market. It analyses the plethora of rural cultures imported into the urban and how they have shaped social life in Ladipo. Its focus is on the way in which social networks have acted as essential social ingredients that facilitates the success of market relations and in the larger context foster harmonious intergroup relations among Nigerians. These developments are explored from the perspective of the traders and artisans whose motives and goals are grossly understudied and misrepresented. In Nigeria, these networks have acted as platforms for building bridges across ethnic divides in the fragile and deeply fractured Nigerian state.

Senior Lecturer, History, Redeemer's University  -  Markets and Social Networks in Nigeria

James Ocita
James Ocita  |  Abstract
The proposed project rigorously re-examines critical issues that are raised by my doctoral research, with the aim of challenging and extending the scholarship on Indian/Asian experiences in South Africa and East Africa as constructed in selected literary narratives from the two locations. The project grapples with the question of how history is retrospectively constituted in the narratives from specific enunciating moments to advance claims of citizenship and legitimation and to make sense of Asian/Indian marginality in diasporic sites across the continent and in the global north. Focusing on works that imagine key moments in the histories of these regions, the project treats the narratives explored as products of their time of emergence and, as such, as self-consciously political. For a more productive reading, it emphasises how the narratives, in imagining Africa, depict the local, without losing sight of the narratives' diasporic, transnational and global dimensions.

Lecturer, Makerere University  -  Diasporic Imaginaries: Memory and Negotiation of Belonging in South African and East African Indian Narratives

Nicky Falkof
Nicky Falkof  |  Abstract
This project is interested in issues of myth, moral panic and urban legend as manifested in the print media and in popular culture in South Africa after 1994. Its objects of study are two thematically related and not yet theorised episodes in the imaginary lives of South Africans: the Pinky Pinky urban legend that was common among high school students in the 1990s and the recent scare about ‘plasma thieves’ in Alexandra township. Using a combination of text-based archival press research and supplementary interviews, the project seeks to unravel what these affective narratives reveal about race, risk, bodies, the occult and consumer culture in the psychic life of some urban South Africans after the end of apartheid. The project combines media and cultural studies approaches to shed new light on these unconsidered corners of South Africa’s mythic landscape.

Lecturer, Media Studies, University of Witwatersrand  -  Moral Panic, Cultural Myth and the Media in Post-apartheid South Africa

Joseph Oduro-Frimpong
Joseph Oduro-Frimpong  |  Abstract
In this project, I argue that in contemporary Ghana’s democratic culture, the entanglement of popular media genres in democratic politics, within an agency and resistance framework, cannot adequately account for the varied mediations of the relationship between ordinary citizens and the state. The project, with its focus on informal arenas of political engagement, will investigate and thus provide insights into the complex dynamics of power in contemporary Ghanaian politics. Specifically, I examine some social and political issues in four Ghanaian popular genres - political cartoons, wayside calendar-posters, video-movies and ‘political’ hiplife music – that provide alternative mediated perspectives to sanitized official positions. Through the analysis of these genres’ composite themes, I underscore their relevance to a holistic understanding of political communication and political understanding.

Assistant Professor, Arts & Sciences, Ashesi University College  -  Understanding Contemporary Ghanaian Political Culture: The Role of Popular Media Genres

Lateef Onireti Ibraheem
Lateef Onireti Ibraheem  |  Abstract
Ilorin town is the centre for Arabic and Islamic pedadogy in Yorubaland of Nigeria. Hence the Arabic literary outputs of the Ilorin scholars are generally believed to reflect Islam. This study evaluated the extent to which Arabic poetry of selected Ilorin scholars, between 1960 and 2010, reflects Islamic values and conforms to the acceptable styles of Arabic poetry composition. The methodology adopted was textual and contextual analyses. Selected standard poems, most of which are still in manuscripts, were critically analyzed based on the principles of “Islamic Literature”. It was discovered, among other things, that Ilorin Arabic poets explored virtually all the popular themes of Arabic Poetry, except those considered to be offensive to Islam such as the description of alcohol, infidelity and romance. While some poets exercised their poetic license to disregard the established Islamic principles, others composed high quality poems comparable to the acceptable standard in the Arab world.

Lecturer I, Arabic, University of Ilorin  -  The Impact of Islamic Teachings on Arabic Poetry in Ilorin, Nigeria from 1960 to 2010

Jeleel Olasunkanmi Ojuade
Jeleel Olasunkanmi Ojuade  |  Abstract
The energy-sapping Bata performance is generally reputed to be difficult as an indigenous Yoruba dance associated with the worship of Sango, Yoruba God of Thunder and Lightning. Over the years, however, Bata dance has been increasingly secularized, demystifying its sacredness much to the annoyance of its religious devotees. This study examines the s ecularization of Bata in southwestern Nigeria. It applies the participant observer method, descriptive approach and comparative analysis based on information from performing groups and other drumming and dancing traditions. Specific geographic areas identified for the study include: Oyo, Ikirun, Ibadan, Ifetedo, Oke-Igbo and Erin-Osun, considering the degrees of style, form, language, instruments, and nuances employed in social ceremonies, ritual performances, masquerade displays, and worship of Yoruba gods. The study will further enhance Bata's application in secular events, allowing scholars and would-be dancers the opportunity to understand Bata's kinetic language of instruction.

Senior Lecturer, Performing Arts, University of Ilorin  -  Secularizing the Occultic: Social and Religious Trajectories of Bata Performance in South-Western Nigeria

Bimbola Oluwafunlola Idowu-Faith
Bimbola Oluwafunlola Idowu-Faith  |  Abstract
Hypertext has been identified as the most fundamental change in textual culture since the Gutenberg. Scholars believe that the textual changes hypertext enacts are mostly observable in hyperfiction texts whose authors exploit the plasticity of the digital media space for various forms of experimentations that echo critical theorists' textual projections and reconfigure the notions of the text, how it is written, as well as how it is read. As much as hypertext scholars have variously theorized the nature and structure of hypertext, little attention has been paid to the study and description of hyperfiction. This stylistic study addresses this neglect by employing Systemic Linguistics, Postmodern Literary Theory, and insights from Applied Media Aesthetics/Multimodal Semiotics in examining language, (hyper)textuality, and style in selected electronic literature in order to reveal how the texts’ digital environments as well as technological affordances in the digital media space re[con]figure text and re[de]fine writing and reading.

Lecturer II, English, Bowen University  -  Experimental Edges and Literary Dimensions in the Multimedia Digital Moments

Azeez Olusola Olaniyan
Azeez Olusola Olaniyan  |  Abstract
The notion of dwarfs as inferior members of the society is a long-held belief amongst the Yoruba ethnic group of south-western Nigeria. By virtue of their size, dwarfs are objects of amusements and ridicule and denied full opportunities open to 'normal' people. They cannot become kings, hold chieftaincy titles; serve as heads of family, village heads or occupy leadership positions. In spite of persistence of this discrimination, there is a dearth of research on dwarfs’ socio-political life. And this raises some pertinent questions: what is the socio-historical conception of dwarfism? What are the socio-cultural barriers placed on the dwarfs? What are the effects of these on dwarfs’ psycho-political participation as members of the society? And, how do they express their socio-psychological and political affinities, affiliations, preferences, and feelings? Using participant observation, in depth interviews with key informants and archival search, this study seeks to interrogate these problematic.

Lecturer I, Political Science, Ekiti State University  -  Socio-Cultural Conception of Dwarfism and the Impacts on Political Participation of Dwarfs in South-Western Nigeria

Ebuka Elias Igwebuike
Ebuka Elias Igwebuike  |  Abstract
Studies on Igbo folk music have investigated its performance styles, compositions, and aesthetic and utilitarian values from the ethnomusicological and literary (socio-political satire) perspectives with little attention paid to the use of metaphor for representing socio-cultural realities in the Igbo society, whereas, metaphorical expressions in Egwu Ekpili, a highly dynamic and symbolic Igbo philosophical folk music constitute a significant feature essential to the full understanding of the unique music genre. Drawing upon the theoretical resources of Charteris-Black’s (2004) Critical Metaphor Theory, White’s (2006) Evaluative Semantics and Halliday’s (2004) Systemic-Functional Linguistics, this study, therefore, investigates metaphors in selected albums of three prominent Egwu Ekpili musicians with a view to uncovering hidden ideological meanings as well as evaluating the role of metaphors in representing identity and power relations in the music texts. This investigation promises better understanding and appreciation of metaphor in folk music in Africa.?????

Lecturer I, Languages, Covenant University  -  Metaphor, Identity and Power in Egwu Ekpili: A Critical Metaphor Investigation of Igbo Folk Music

Babajide Olusoji Ololajulo
Babajide Olusoji Ololajulo  |  Abstract
The repugnancy principle of the colonial government effectively voided customary practices relating to posthumous procreation in Nigeria. However, a rare practice of levirate system, in which non-kin relation inherits widow and literally assists the dead to raise more children has endured in Ilupeju-Ekiti, southwest, Nigeria. What form of cultural ideology supports this practice in its contemporary form? How does the practice impact on the social position of an offspring? What is his/her legal status? In which of his/her dual patrilineage does he/she have rights to property, land, and titles? How is the integration into the family enhanced? How does the practice bear on the (re)configuration of selves and relations? And what is its overall implication for the Yoruba kinship system? Through an ethnographic approach, this study will explore the above questions and others bordering on cultural understanding of posthumous paternity in a contemporary Nigerian society.

Lecturer I, Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Ibadan  -  Cultural Conceptualisation of Posthumous Paternity in Ilupeju-Ekiti, Southwest Nigeria

Bebwa Isingoma
Bebwa Isingoma  |  Abstract
The proposed project aims at revising my dissertation in order to turn it into a monograph (book manuscript). The study examines triadic constructions in Rutooro (a Bantu language spoken in western Uganda) and English from a comparative perspective. Topics of interest include (i) morpho-semantic properties of Rutooro and English triadic constructions (ii) the structural properties of the constructions (iii) depictive secondary predication (how the constructions interact with this phenomenon) (iv) pronominalization, permutation and passivization of the non-subject arguments in the two languages (these observable properties determine the symmetry or asymmetry nature of the languages). The study not only intends to anchor the areas of convergence and asymmetries in the two languages within linguistic theorizing, thereby augmenting linguistic discourse in comparative syntax, but also it intends to correct widespread erroneous assumptions in the available relevant literature on triadic constructions. Ultimately, the study brings to the limelight topical grammatical aspects of an overly understudied language (Rutooro), as well as contributing incrementally to Bantu syntax.

Lecturer, Languages and Literature, Gulu University  -  Argument Sructure: A Comparative Study of Triadic Constructions in Rutooro and English

Abayomi Olurotimi Olusegun-Joseph
Abayomi Olurotimi Olusegun-Joseph  |  Abstract
Dominant African literary criticism offers an essentialist reading of African literature as notionally 'black' and geo-culturally 'sub-Saharan' to the relative neglect of North African writing, which is often considered 'Arabized'. This study seeks to redress this gap by asserting the Africanness of North African writing as uniquely 'Afrabian' (Afro-Arab), showing how this identity has deeply impacted on the postcolonial dynamism of African literature. Exploring the appropriation of the Arabian Nights story-telling tradition in the North African novel, the research will reveal, among other things, that North African writing echoes what Ali Mazrui calls 'trans-Saharan pan-Africanism' which contests the limitations of black-centred pan- Africanism/Afrocentrism. Deploying a postcolonial reading of purposively selected texts, this study will question the often paraded 'two world' (African-European) theory of the making of modern African literature, suggesting a more pragmatic 'three world' (African-Arab-Western) proposition. The study aspires to signally project the Afrabian legacy in African literature.

Lecturer, English, Obafemi Awolowo University  -  Projecting Afrabia: North Africa and the Afro-Arab Interface in African Literature

Merit Ronald Kabugo
Merit Ronald Kabugo  |  Abstract
The study uses a multi-perspective approach to explore how participants at farmer group meetings use Luganda language to express assessment of people, objects and events, as well as to make decisions during interactive discourse. In this context, the study takes the discourse of farmer group meetings as a genre of business meetings, where the public is included in decision-making interactions between government and citizens. The study argues that the process of rural development through groups brings with it challenges of how different actors, including participants at community development business meetings, construe the notion of participation. Using audial recordings of rural farmer group meetings, the study analyzes the spoken Luganda discourse of appraisal and evaluation, in order to explore the linguistic manifestations of participation, citizenship, negotiation and decision-making within the context of the genre of business meetings. In this sense, the study discusses the notions of participation and decision-making from within their natural situations of usage in spoken discourse.

Lecturer, Linguistics, English Language Studies and Communication Skills, Makerere University  -  Participation and Decision-making in Luganda: A Study of Spoken Discourse at Rural Community Business Meetings

Collen Sabao
Collen Sabao  |  Abstract
This is a book project seeking to examine the discourse linguistic notion/question of ‘objectivity’ in ‘controversial’ ‘hard news’ reporting in Zimbabwean newspapers cross-linguistically from an Appraisal linguistic theoretic perspective. ‘Objectivity’ is examined here by comparing the textuality of Zimbabwean printed news reports in English, Shona and Ndebele during the period January 2010 to December 2013, providing detailed comparative accounts of generic structures (cognitive and rhetorical) of ‘hard news’ reports in Zimbabwean newspapers cross-linguistically. The investigation focuses on ‘controversial’ news reports and the research period represents an interesting epoch in the country’s political and economic landscapes. It examines how media texts occurring in these Zimbabwean journalistic cultures distinguish (or otherwise) between the objective and the subjective, the factual and opinion and how Appraisal analytical resources of invoked and inscribed evaluation manifest comparatively in these media and how Appraisal Theory provides alternative linguistic non-journalistic theoretic ways of theorising ‘objectivity’ in news texts.

Lecturer, African Languages, Stellenbosch University  -  Reporting "Controversy" in Zimbabwean Newspapers Cross-Linguistically: A Linguistic Discourse Analysis of "Objectivity" in "Hard" News

Ramona Nkosinathi Kunene-Nicolas
Ramona Nkosinathi Kunene-Nicolas  |  Abstract
The goal of this research is to assess the influence of culture in the linguistic packaging in Bantu oral narratives. Current literature on the cultural constraints on lexical and syntactic resources has focused on a few languages such as English, French, Turkish, etc but there is no documentation on any Bantu language. The purpose of this study is 1) to examine the linguistic constraints that influence the lexical and syntactic resources that express thought from both a speech and gestural perspective (Kita, 2009), 2) to examine how these constraints are expressed in children’s oral narratives. Applying Talmy's (1985) classification on language typology of the syntactic encoding of motion events, this study predicts the manner of motion in these two languages will be expressed in at least two idea units (clauses) and the gestural production will be similar to the verbal expression.

, Linguistics, University of Witwatersrand  -  Cross-Cultural Influences in the Development of Oral Discourse in seSotho and isiZulu