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. 


Abba Andrew Abba
Abba Andrew Abba  |  Abstract
This research investigates the literary representation of the distinctive influence of postcolonial myths on Igbo-Biafran identity and how the Igbo-Biafrans seek to subvert these myths by deploying the counter-myth of self-heroism. Myth, used here as an ideologically motivated narrative, has been regarded as a colonial strategy of cultural and political domination. There is literary evidence of the representation of Igbo-Biafrans as “untrustworthy” in colonial discourse resulting in their being treated not only with suspicion but also as subalterns by most non-Igbo Nigerians. Arguing that this ideological framing of identity plays a significant role in the endless Biafran agitation for secession, this project seeks to demonstrate that the agitations of other ethnic-based insurgent groups like the militants in the Niger-Delta, the herdsmen in the Middle Belt, the Boko-Haram in the North East and the Bandits in the North-west extend and complicate the Biafran legacy and the question of postcolonial contradictions in Nigeria. Drawing on postcolonial discursive strategies, especially Homi Bhabha’s theory of colonial mimicry, the study aims to analyse selected Nigeria-Biafra war novels and memoirs to show how the myth of “Igbo- Biafran untrustworthiness,” is subverted by the counter- myth of “Igbo-Biafran heroism.” It further articulates how new generation Biafran writers rethink ethnic identity by offering alternative accommodationist insights that negotiate peaceful co-existence in a multi-ethnic space like Nigeria.

Lecturer I, English and Literary Studies, Federal University Lokoja  -  Biafra’s Self-Canonization: Subverting Postcolonial Myths in Selected Nigeria-Biafra War Novels and Memoirs

Maryam Yusuf Magaji
Maryam Yusuf Magaji  |  Abstract
This study investigates the freedom Hausa women find during their Amada and Shantu performances. It also examines the symbolic use of instruments in the two performances which are among the few subgenres reserved for women in the Hausa society. All the performances take place in seclusion but the women enjoy a degree of artistic freedom which marks their female centered renditions out as mediums of gender expressions within the secluded space. Using performance idioms and exhibitions, the women construct narratives of power, comment on current events and encourage other women to commence income generating activities.. Participating in these performances thus enhances freedom for Hausa women even within the confines of marital seclusion. The performances to be used for this study will be collected through participant observation and interview methods with female performers in Katsina, Nigeria and the data collected will be subjected to data analysis using Womanism and Semiotics.

Lecturer I, English and Literary Studies., Federal University Wukari  -  Freedom in Seclusion; Performing Gender Identities in Hausa Women's Amada and Shantu Performances.

Ralia Maijama'a Abdullahi
Ralia Maijama'a Abdullahi  |  Abstract
The proposed study deploys a feminist reading to analyse the ways in which the selected writers, writing from the margins of a patriarchal society, infiltrate the gaps, silences and cracks in phallocentric culture to dismantle common perceptions about women. The main argument of this project is that northern Nigerian women writers are feminist even if they reject the label of feminism. One aim of the proposed work is to show how these writers redefine “woman” by exposing the ways in which masculinity and femininity are really just texts constructed by dominant power structures. The study, however avoids biological determinism by resisting the idea that the distinctiveness of women's writing is that it is merely writing produced by women. Hence, Formalism is deployed so as to give space to the aesthetic qualities of the selected texts in order to showcase the diversity, richness and difference that characterises northern Nigerian women's writing even when they share similar thematic concerns.

Lecturer II, English and Literary Studies, Bayero University Kano, Nigeria  -  Feminism, Female Sexuality and Personal Choice: Subverting Patriarchy in Northern Nigerian Women's Writing

Iddy Ramadhani Magoti
Iddy Ramadhani Magoti  |  Abstract
This study attempts to unravel the riddle of Kenyan Diaspora in Tanzania by examining circumstances which shaped their migration from Kenya and settlement where they did in Tanzania. Specifically, it focuses on Kikuyu, Nandi and Kamba people and, analyses their history, relations between them and their host local communities, changes or continuities in their identities, and how their presence have influenced socio-economic and political development of areas where they settled from 1840s to 2020. To achieve that, the study uses qualitative historical approach which relies on secondary, archival and oral sources. It departs from continental and national perspectives to community people centred analysis of Diaspora. It argues that Kenyan Diaspora in Tanzania is a product of historical processes which can be traced from the pre-colonial through the colonial to the post-colonial periods. The study intends to come out with a single monograph which documents the history of the said communities.

Lecturer, History, University of Dar es Salaam  -  Unravelling the Riddle of Kenyan Diaspora in Tanzania, 1840s -2020

George Emeka Agbo
George Emeka Agbo  |  Abstract
Since the 2010s, Nigerians have used photographs on Facebook to critique their country’s socio-political conditions. My book will explore how this visual culture constitutes a new domain in mobilizations for change and how it offers the possibility of writing Nigeria's post-independence history from the perspective and experience of those on the margins of society. I will begin with the history of analogue photography in Nigeria, to understand how Facebook photo-activism draws on, but also differs from it. Historicising Nigeria’s socio-political tensions, I analyze how digital technology mediates their pictorial representation and the evidentiary framework of their online circulation. Also to be examined are contestations around the online protest and the potentialities and limits of Facebook as postcolonial Nigerian visual archive constituted outside state control. Facebook photo-activism in Nigeria impacts on how political elites interact with the networked citizens, engenders reconfigurations of power and drives actual protests that signal possible revolution.

Lecturer I, Fine and Applied Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka  -  Facebook Activism in Nigeria: The Digital Photograph and New Histories of the Postcolony

Portia Malatjie
Portia Malatjie  |  Abstract
This research project investigates the relationship between African spiritual practices and African sonic practices as a way of understanding a specifically African conception of Blackness. The project looks to an increase in the representation of African traditions and spiritualities in contemporary African art by young, Black artists and curators. The intersections of sound, technology, ancestry, Black spectrality, and speculation that stem from an engagement with African spiritualities are key ideas explored and unpacked in the research. The research will mobilise this spiritual turn in contemporary African practices to investigate how sound, which acts as one of the components of spiritual engagement, is used and understood in African visual cultures. This under-researched field of African sonic studies and its relationship to visual cultures is key in understanding young Black art practices that continuously find innovative ways of making sense of their Blackness.

Lecturer, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, South Africa  -  An Investigation into the Intersection between Spirituality, Sound and Blackness in Contemporary African Art

Chrispina Ambrosi Alphonce
Chrispina Ambrosi Alphonce  |  Abstract
It is common to find people communicating with their pets as if doing so to their fellow humans because pets are trained to respond to certain instructions given. In turn, other animals have been found to react in certain ways when addressed by humans. This symbiotic interaction is accomplished through linguistic devices that are understood by both. The study will qualitatively examine interactions between the Iraqw, a Southern Cushitic community, living in north-central Tanzania, and some wild animals they encounter in their everyday life. This type of communication has not been investigated in the context of Iraqw speakers and has received minimal attention elsewhere in East Africa. Data will be collected through observation and elicitation techniques and analysed in an anthropological-linguistics framework. This study contributes to our knowledge of human-animal relations by examining the linguistic and non-linguistic strategies and ways of speaking embraced by humans when talking with wild animals.

Lecturer, Foreign Languages and Literature, University of Dodoma  -  Animal-Directed Speech: A Case of the Iraqw People and their Interactions with Wild Animals

David Akwasi Mensah Abrampah
David Akwasi Mensah Abrampah  |  Abstract
Historical and archaeological researches have shown that between 1788 and 1850 the Danes established plantations along the foothills of the Akuapem Mountains and the estuary of the Volta River at south-eastern Ghana and used enslaved Africans to cultivate them. The establishment of these plantations was meant to replace the trans-Atlantic slave trade which Denmark was deeply involved in. In 1803, Denmark abolished the trans-Atlantic slave trade, however, this did not end slavery in Africa. As the Danish plantation economy solidified, increasing numbers of enslaved people were engaged to labour in these plantations. This project seeks to examine the documentary and the archaeological data of one of the earliest Danish plantations (Frederikssted plantation) established in 1794 in Dodowa, in Ghana. The archaeological excavations at Frederikssted plantation and the resultant material culture will be used to examine different occupational episodes such as occupation, abandonment, and reoccupation for the purpose of historical reconstruction.

Lecturer, Archaeology and Heritage Studies, University of Ghana  -  Archaeological investigations into the Danish slave plantation system in Dodowa , Ghana

Hannah W Amissah-Arthur
Hannah W Amissah-Arthur  |  Abstract
This research explores the various forms of wounds and scars in the contemporary Ghanaian slave literature. It focuses on the metaphorical wounds as well as the psychological, physical and spiritual manifestations of enslavement. Although there have been several scholarly engagements with the Transatlantic slave trade in Ghanaian literature, the discussion on wounds and healing has not received the deserved attention. Joseph Baiden’s Seeds of Slavery (2018), Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing (2016), Manu Herbstein’s Ama (2016) and Brave Music of a Distant Drum (2011), were purposefully selected for in depth analysis and critique of the subject. Applying trauma and healing theories, this research aims at projecting, and challenging, issues that emanate from the texts in a bid to chart the intellectual pathway between the Transatlantic Slave Trade on the Ghanaian as well as the African as a whole.

Assistant Lecturer, English, University of Cape Coast  -  Patchwork of Scars: Reading Wounds and Healing in Contemporary Ghanaian Slave Literature

Simon Mutebi
Simon Mutebi  |  Abstract
Despite sexual enhancement remedies becoming widespread and the subject of debate in Tanzania, no in-depth qualitative study has been conducted yet on young men’s diversity responses and female partners’ perspectives on the matter. This study examines how young men renegotiate their male identities amid proliferation of sexual enhancement remedies, and female partners’ viewpoints. Drawing from ethnographic research and building on the concepts of agency and social navigation, I argue that such proliferating remedies might also reveal diversity in responses and experiences characterized by continuity and discontinuity of hegemonic construction of being rijali, which are often embedded in both inter- and intra-personal conflicts as well as compliances. In summary, my findings will indicate young men’s diversity responses, experiences as well as partners’ (females’) viewpoints on sexual enhancement remedies. This study draws our attention to go deeper into sexual enhancing remedies in multiple African countries, and Tanzania in particular.

Lecturer, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Dar es Salaam  -  Examining Young Men's Diversity Experiences and Female Partners' Perspectives Towards Sexual Enhancement Remedies in Tanzania.

Azizat Omotoyosi Amoloye-Adebayo
Azizat Omotoyosi Amoloye-Adebayo  |  Abstract
The critical importance of ‘helping’ others and all it represents to the sense of self and identity represents an essential component of most religious traditions in Nigeria. Notable amongst categories of persons that are usually expressed to require support are persons with disabilities. A dominant narrative in existing literature is that religious sentiments underpinning notions of ‘helping’ enhance a culture of begging as a vocation for persons with disabilities. Much less explored, however, is how the design and functioning of ‘helping’ structures according to popular understanding privileges the helpers over the needs and autonomy of persons helped. Using Islam as an example of a religious tradition that encourages ‘helping’, this work is an exploration of this alternative narrative. It argues that existing understandings of ‘helping’ are erroneous and constitute structural barriers to the emergence of persons with disabilities as active agents in the determination of the course of their existence.


Sifiso Ndlovu
Sifiso Ndlovu  |  Abstract
Prompted by the observation that ethnic identities, previously foregrounded as a regime of belonging to sustain an exclusive Afrikaner nationalist project continue to feature in the South African polity, the book project seeks to delve deeper into how the myth of the ‘rainbow nation’ continues to legitimise ethnic mobilisation today. It examines ethnicity, national identity and cultural diversity in post-apartheid South Africa through a study of the Ndebele ethnic group and its constitution within the politics of the ‘rainbow’ nation. The book seeks to explore the specificities and complexities surrounding the notion of articulation of Southern Ndebele ethnic identity with the emergent South African national identity. Through a critique of post-apartheid South Africa’s politics of rainbowism that tries to carry along disparate identities into one nation, I will elaborate on the politics of simultaneously belonging to a mutually constitutive national and ethnic identities and the navigation of both identities

Postdoctoral Fellow, Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study, University of Johannesburg  -  Southern Ndebele ethnicity, national identity and cultural diversity in post-apartheid South Africa

Francis Chukwunwike Anolue
Francis Chukwunwike Anolue  |  Abstract
This proposed project which is a combination of research and writing is a revision of my PhD thesis. It investigates varied ways in which time and nature are thematised in the poetic corpus of the multiple award-winning Nigerian writer Niyi Osundare. Its frame is woven from Bakhtinian notions of time in literature complemented by various strands of ecocritical theory. Using lenses provided by Osundare, it interrogates the Yoruba animist worldview on time and nature. It foregrounds how autobiographical aspects of Osundare's poetry are shaped by animist conceptions of sacred time and place. It also analyses animist beliefs on the origin of the earth and the human responsibility to preserve it. Further, it studies geologic time, taking Nigeria as a specific site in which the workings of the Anthropocene and the Capitalocene are manifest.

Lecturer, English and Literary Studies, Bauchi State University  -  Writing Nigeria: Time and Nature in the Poetry of Niyi Osundare

Chioma Vivian Ngonadi
Chioma Vivian Ngonadi  |  Abstract
This research is a follow- up work on my doctoral studies, which involved the archaeological survey, excavation and analyses of materials from the site of Lejja in 2017/2018. The excavations yielded a large assemblage of artefacts like potsherds, slag, tuyere fragments, iron objects and plant remains. However, my PhD research focused specifically on plant food production in this area, thereby opening up opportunities to consider and explore other important variables such as the technology and society. The proposed study, therefore, seeks to explore the intersections between craft production and specialization in the context of the emergence and development of complex societies in this part of West Africa. This study will be conducted in Lejja; southeastern Nigeria because Lejja emphasizes major iron smelting areas already investigated and dated. Methodologically, the proposed study will employ survey, in-depth interview and historical accounts to complement the already existing data that I recovered during my doctoral fieldwork.

Lecturer I, Archaeology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka  -  Iron production and the emergence of social complexity in Southeastern- Nigeria

The discourse of women’s safety has been explored theoretically and empirically. Although extant body of literature have looked at the issues of gender, safety, and spaces, relatively very little attention has been given to exploring the stories of pregnant women and nursing mothers. My study aims at capturing the narratives of the pregnant and nursing mothers in Agogo; their resilience, and how they navigate their survival in this rather vicious space. I will adopt a participatory photography design using photo-voices to provide a space for the silenced voices of women in the conflict area to be articulated. This would be corroborated with interviews and observations. Participants in the study will be purposively sampled, pregnant women, and nursing mothers. Data analysis will consider phenomenological, photographic, and inductive processes. It will expand the frontiers of socio-cultural narratives in violent communities in Ghana and their application in the Humanities and Gender studies.


Bryson Gwiyani Nkhoma
Bryson Gwiyani Nkhoma  |  Abstract
Since the late 1850s, white settlers and colonial administrators made various interventions to improve the levels of peasants’ food production in Malawi. Yet despite the significance this development had on peasants’ livelihoods, the Malawi historiography has predominantly concentrated on the disruptive nature of colonial capitalism. This book explores the interventions that the colonial state and other European actors made to improve peasants’ food production in southern Malawi from 1859 to 1964. While colonialism disrupted rural livelihoods, it argues that its impact was complex and varied, and that, in some respect, it brought with it efforts to improve peasants’ food production practices. However, the success of these efforts was contested. Ruthlessly carried out alongside conservation, together with officials derogatory attitudes towards African practices, it became difficult for the state to effectively implement its new agricultural policy. The study provides insights into modern debates on state interventions, food security, and sustainable development.

Postdoctoral Fellow, International Studies Group, University of the Free State  -  Peasants, the State and Rural Economy: A History of Food Production in Southern Malawi, 1859 – 1964

Imomotimi Armstrong
Imomotimi Armstrong  |  Abstract
Humanities scholars, especially those in music and literary studies have paid a great deal of attention to highlife and its socio-cultural variants. However, in spite of the impressive body of existing literature on highlife, little is known of awigiri, the variant of highlife among the Ijo (Ijaw, Izon) of Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta. Therefore, this research examines awigiri by arguing that it is a site for the negotiation of identity and the representation of gender realities. Data for this interdisciplinary research will be gathered from unstructured interviews of selected awigiri performers and participant observation of live awigiri performances using audio/visual means. Data shall further be gathered from selected audio recordings of awigiri. The data will be interrogated using the theories of performance and feminism. The research will add to the discourse on difference in forms of highlife and other forms of popular music. Beyond that, humanities scholars will understand how music performers negotiate issues of identity and gender realities both in live performances and the lyrics of their music.

Lecturer II, English and Literary Studies, Niger Delta University  -  Negotiating Identity and Gender Realities in the Performance of the Awigiri Music of the Ijo (Ijaw, Izon) of Nigeria

Bright Nkrumah
Bright Nkrumah  |  Abstract
While the appellation 'Rainbow Nation' was coined to depict South Africa's multiracial society, the country's construction of a democratic and egalitarian society is often punctuated by retrogressive cultural superstitions and practices. One of such superstitions is the myth that an application or consumption of ‘muti’ (traditional potion) mixed with the body part of a person with albinism (PWA) will enhance one’s fortunes. To this end, while some PWA is marginalized, others are abducted, murdered or their body parts harvested for rituals. Although there has been a renaissance of scholarship exploring these practices, there is still a drought of research on the historical origin of this myth and which social systems have sustained it. Drawing on archival records, secondary sources, and interpretive paradigm, the project will explore the evolution of this superstition, the social forces which have fostered it, and the impact of this pejorative myth on the self-confidence of PWA.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Global Change Institute, University of Witwatersrand  -  Albinism: historical evolution and contemporary stigmatisation in South Africa

Rabiu Asante
Rabiu Asante  |  Abstract
The ability of gamers to acquire specific skills from playing one digital game or another is not in doubt, particularly when one considers the literature on youth violence and the exposure to violent video games in the West. Because these games are often designed based on the values of the global north, while targeting the youth in developed nations, little is known about the online-skills African gamers appropriate for social engagement offline. Using in-depth interviews of 30 Ghanaian youth digital gamers as well as a thematic analysis of the description pages of the downloaded games, this study seeks to explore the digital gaming practices of Ghanaian youths to understand the kinds of offline skills they end-up appropriating while playing these games.

Lecturer, Sociology, University of Ghana  -  Digital gaming practices and skills appropriation among Ghanaian youths

Drawing on #EndSARS, the recent protest against police brutality in Nigeria, this study examines how photographs, political cartoons and videos circulated on social media during the protest construct new conditions for reading Nigeria’s socio-political environment. In terms of organizational power, level of participation, use of social media, transnational spread as well as the global response it engendered, #EndSARS underlines the changing field of online civil struggle in Nigeria. Using discourse analysis, the study interrogates how the rhetorical power of the image is used as a transactional tool to negotiate power and position, project individual and group identities, and also inspire collective social action. Also examined is how incidences of fake news, misinformation and disinformation impact on images circulated during #EndSARS and how this intersects debates on freedom of expression and censorship. Iconicity or arbitrariness of images to either memorialize or ridicule the spirit of the protest is equally explored.

Senior Lecturer, Fine and Applied Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka  -  Negotiating change: Images as sociopolitical currency in the 2020 #EndSARS protest in Nigeria

Many transnational documentary films have been produced primarily to show international audiences the gendered oppression suffered by global South women who participate in or who are subjected to practices categorized as “harmful” in global development rhetoric. These documentaries ‘index’ the lived experiences of these women and use their plight to solicit for help to end these practices. Using transnational feminist theory and drawing on alternate data from personal experience stories of women who participate in similar practices in Uganda, this study examines how specific forms of knowledge about women’s participation in “harmful” practices is constructed, circulated and/or trafficked across geographical boundaries. The study shows that women who take part in these practices are cast (almost without exception) as helpless victims in need of redemption (typically by the Global North) consequently foreclosing nuanced ways of knowing, understanding and theorizing these practices and the women who participate in them.

Lecturer, Literature, Kyambogo University  -  Unmasking Representations of "Harmful" Cultural Practices

Rebecca Ohene-Asah
Rebecca Ohene-Asah  |  Abstract
In this study, I argue that local audio-visual archives, are important repositories of Ghana’s intangible cultural heritage just like the film archives found outside the country. From a post-colonial theoretical underpinning, this study employs qualitative tenets such as interviews of archivist and stakeholders, observation of their activities, as well as content analysis of accessible film formats, to interrogate the varied preservative methods and strategies employed to archive, preserve and manage film materials both at the nation state level and at the individual level. Specifically, I examine the nature, purpose, issues of ownership and historical antecedents of film materials stored in Ghana to suggest that current archival practices impede greatly on access to contents of archived audio-visual materials yet, there are prospects in technologies such as digitization towards facilitating easy accessibility to contents of stored or archived film materials connected with Ghana.

Lecturer, Film Artistic Department, University of Ghana  -  FORGOTTEN CINEMA ARCHIVES: FILM STORAGE PRACTICES IN GHANA.

George Bishi
George Bishi  |  Abstract
This study analyzes how Rhodesian white settlers, African nationalists and British politicians used the language of kith and kin ties to interpret relations between Rhodesia’s white settlers and Britain between 1939 and 1980. It argues that familial, socio-cultural connections between Rhodesian whites of British extraction and Britain influenced Anglo-Rhodesia relations and the eventual process of decolonization of white Rhodesia. These notions operated at both the familial and political level and they were fluid and dynamic under the influence of local, regional and international factors. Throughout the colonial period, Rhodesian whites remained in touch with their kith and kin in Britain and cherished their British identity. These cultural connections reflected in the way Britain handled the Rhodesian problem in the 1960s and 1970s. This study also shows how cognate ideas of imperial loyalism, Britishness, whiteness, ethnicity, moral behaviour, wealth, class and political ideologies were part of the imagined Rhodesian settler society.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Rhodes African Studies Centre, Rhodes University  -  Kith and Kin Politics: Rhodesia’s White Settlers and Britain, 1939 to 1980

Paul Ayodele Onanuga
Paul Ayodele Onanuga  |  Abstract
The assertion of identity and performance of agency lie at the heart of queer advocacies online. These representations challenge existing gender ideology and contest socio-cultural norms which ‘other’ non-heterosexual orientations. In this proposed study, I interrogate pictorial representations of Nigerian queers on Instagram. I argue that these images represent semiotic resources which not only enhance self- and group-validation; they also grant visibility and agency to the Nigerian queer community. My data are 30 purposively selected images from queer_ng, and lgbtq.nigerian. These handles post queer positive images which constitute non-personalised graphic portrayals of queer realities. I analyse the images alongside their LGBTQ hashtags with recourse to socio-semiotic and multimodal analysis. I contend that the images and hashtags enable personal agency and sexual identity while also referencing a collectively constructed non-normative ‘lifestyle’. To achieve a wholesome analysis and discussion, I integrate the intersection of local context as well as macro-sociological influences in the analysis. I submit that the images formulate a collective identity and function as authenticating artefacts which encode meaning-making affordances for the Nigerian queer community.

Lecturer I, English and Literary Studies, Federal University Oye-Ekiti  -  A Socio-Semiotic Analysis of Pro-homosexuality Nigerian Instagram Images

Kudakwashe Chitofiri
Kudakwashe Chitofiri  |  Abstract
This study is an account of social movements in the African part of the city of Salisbury in colonial Zimbabwe. It explores how the emergence and character of the “Location”, as shaped by segregatory policies which viewed Africans as temporary sojourners in the city, influenced the development of African urban social movements. The study argues that African trade unions and labour organisations were influenced by the state of affairs in the townships to become mouthpieces for all African urban dwellers. The study also assesses the operations of residents’ representative groupings in an environment of heightened national struggle for independence. It refocuses debates on African agency by exploring “African voices” in the urban arena as they engaged with colonial authorities about the manner in which the Location was imagined, arranged and managed. It investigates African urban residents organisations from 1908 up to independence in 1980.

Research Fellow, African Studies Centre, Rhodes University  -  The history of Residents Associations and African urban representation in colonial Harare, Zimbabwe

Hakeem Olakunle Onapajo
Hakeem Olakunle Onapajo  |  Abstract
Child soldiering has become a major feature of the Boko Haram conflict in North-eastern Nigeria. Both the insurgents and the state-affiliated militia group (the Civilian Joint Task Force) engage children to fight for their interests. The dominant perspective on child soldiers that image children in conflict as victims and vulnerable, lack the explanatory power to explain the phenomenon because it generalises childhood from the western-liberal framework. Drawing from the sociological theories of childhood, the study aims to understand the socio-cultural construction of “childhood” in Africa and use it as a framework to explain the recruitment and retention of children in the conflict in North-eastern Nigeria.

Senior Lecturer, Political Science and International Relations, Nile University of Nigeria  -  “African Childhood” and the Socio-cultural contexts of Child Soldiers in North-eastern Nigeria

Maxmillian Julius Chuhila
Maxmillian Julius Chuhila  |  Abstract
This historical study seeks to explore land tenure systems and its influence on traditional land planning and use on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, Northeastern Tanzania. Specific objective is to understand motives that have shaped settlement, production systems and mobility between 1850-1980s on the kihamba (highlands) and shamba (lowlands). Kihamba and shamba form the main tenure systems and have determined land use overtime by allowing switching between the two landscapes at different times and for different purposes. Through analysis of Landsat images, aerial photographs, archival research, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, the proposed study examines the socio-cultural attributes that determines patterns of land tenure and use including choices of where to settle, farm and practice socio-cultural functions. Unlike previous studies that have concentrated on government interventions, this study draws mainly from peasants’ articulations of their lived experiences in interacting with the mountain space.

Senior Lecturer, History, University of Dar es Salaam  -  The Interface between Land Tenure and Land Use Systems in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, ca. 1850-1980s

Ugo Pascal Onumonu
Ugo Pascal Onumonu  |  Abstract
This project, a revised version of my doctoral thesis, places women at the centre of the humanitarian crisis of the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970). Existing scholarships on African studies have paid limited attention to the transformation of women's role during post-colonial crisis of nation-building. Decades after decades of scholarship, history has continued to favour men's voice and perspective as the primary shaper of historical narratives, not because women did not perform significant task, but because of male-centredness of African studies. Using the example of internally displaced community in Oru-Igbo, a major polity in southern Nigeria, this project uncovers the heroic exploits of local women who operated outside state institution to address the multifarious implication of violent conflict. It argues that the scholarship on the transformation of gender roles in the era of violent is capable of shedding new insights on political economy of post-colonial narratives of nation-building.

Lecturer I, History and International Studies, Adeleke University  -  Behind the Barrels: Women and Humanitarian Crisis in the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970)

Innocent Dande
Innocent Dande  |  Abstract
The proposed book project enters the debate on the coloniality and on the decoloniality of food by using urban working classes’ food eating habits between 1980 and 2020. Using the concept of urban working class foodscapes enables it to contribute to both classical and contemporary food studies. It also deploys working class household perspectives regarding food. These attitudes altered modern cityscapes by their creolized and hybrid eating practices. The book contextualizes the ruling ZANU PF government’s food sovereignty policy by integrating it into the historiographies of the Zimbabwean crisis and the land reform and by including ideas about the Anthropocene into these debate. It deploys sensorial historical methodologies as a way of not only availing an everyday food history from the global south but of including lower class aesthetics of food into historiography.

Postdoctoral Fellow, International Studies Group, University of the Free State  -  Zimbabwe's Urban Foodscapes: Class, Identity and Culture, c. 1980-2020

Clara Ijeoma Osuji
Clara Ijeoma Osuji  |  Abstract
This research examines artistic depictions of aging male characters in six Africa novels. The theoretical foundation is drawn from the gender theories advanced by postulations in masculinities by the Australian sociologist, R.W Connell, and South African Robert Morrell and Sandra Swart. The conceptual tools provided by masculinities theory give insight into how the lived-experiences of aging male characters are shaped by the dynamics of socio-familial demands and expectations, within the worldviews of the selected novels. The study establishes that more than the burden of physical aging and diminished economic independence, the later-life experiences of male-characters are often adversely affected by their ranking within the gender order of their communities which, in turn, affects their well-being and longevity. Anchored in literary productions from five countries, this research offers an integrated representation of aging males in African fiction and, thus, helps gain deeper insight into the later-life world of men in Africa.


Tunde Decker
Tunde Decker  |  Abstract
This study engages the trends in self-apprehension, self-affirmation and self-efficacy of everyday people in colonial Lagos. It examines this three-in-one phenomenon within the contexts of poverty, social integration and social mobility which intersected their identity as members of colonial society. This study’s objective is drawn from the textuality of petitions written by everyday people in colonial Lagos. The petitions serve as entry into the efforts at understanding the self by these people as well as their participation in the socio-economic dynamics that confronted their identity as colonial subjects. In essence, this study interrogates the understanding and translation of the self from its cognitive and affirmative stage into efficacy among everyday people – referencing the dynamics of poverty, identity and social integration within the colonial dispensation.

Associate Professor, History and International Studies, Osun State University  -  Selfie: Everyday agency in everyday people in colonial Lagos

Uchenna Oyali
Uchenna Oyali  |  Abstract
Most Bible translators and consultants claim that their sole goal is to put the Bible in a people’s language to enable them read and understand and accept God’s message. This claim becomes problematic when more than one Bible translation is done into a language, as is the case with Igbo. The first full Bible translation into Igbo was published by the Anglican Church in 1913. However, the period between 1988 and 2019 saw five new Bible translations done into Standard Igbo – two by inter-denominational institutions and three by individual Christian denominations – and four in Igbo dialects. Consequently, through a descriptive linguistic analysis of data from the Bible texts and a content analysis of the paratexts, the present study explores how the Bible translations are used as a site for language modernization and religio-ethnic identity (re)construction.

Lecturer I, English, University of Abuja  -  Beyond Spreading the Word of God: Igbo Bible Retranslation, Language Modernization and Religio-Ethnic Identity (Re)Construction

Godfrey Hove
Godfrey Hove  |  Abstract
This proposed study examines the socio-economic and political factors that shaped the trajectory of the dairy industry in Zimbabwe from the mid 1960s until 2017. Building on my PhD study, this study offers a longitudinal and in-depth examination of the competing interests of different players in the dairy industry within an evolving socio-economic and political context through the tensions arising out of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965, the war of independence during the 1970s, the euphoria that came with independence in the 1980s, the reform process of the 1990s and the post-2000 politico-economic degeneration. Drawing on the extensive coverage of archival sources and other primary evidence, this study offers a nuanced account of the rise and fall of dairy farming in Zimbabwe since the 1960s. Apart from significantly contributing to Zimbabwe’s agrarian history, this study joins broader regional and international historiographical debates and discourses on agricultural development.

Postdoctoral Fellow, History, Stellenbosch University  -  The state, sectoral interests and the political economy of dairy farming in Zimbabwe, c.1965-2017

Oluwabunmi Opeyemi Oyebode
Oluwabunmi Opeyemi Oyebode  |  Abstract
Social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, etc., have brought about a paradigm shift to human communication by privileging ‘muted voices’ in the society to freely express themselves. Victims of rape, especially the female folk, are examples of these muted voices in Nigeria. The society imposes silence on them because of social stigmatization. This study, therefore, explores the shifting power role that online networks avail the Nigerian girl child and women to break the imposed silence by constructing dynamics of repressive narratives that deconstruct their oppressors’ idea of power over them. Drawing on van Leeuwen’s Social Actor Model and Janks and Ivanic’s Emancipatory Discourse, the study examines different discursive strategies, such as metaphorization, categorization, beneficialization, and honorification rape survivors employ in their narratives to assert themselves, construct power, expose perpetrators and contest specific institutionalized forces that suppress them. Purposively selected posts and comments on rape across five online forums in Nigeria form the database for the study.

Senior Lecturer, English, Obafemi Awolowo University  -  Breaking the Conspiracy of Silence: Discursive Construction of Power in Nigerian Online Narratives of Rape

Makarius Peter Itambu
Makarius Peter Itambu  |  Abstract
This proposed collaborative study (with the local community) proposes to document and interpret the rock art from Kere, Siuyu, and Ughaugha villages in the Singida region of Central Tanzania. The cupule rock art features, gongs and associated paintings are rare in Africa and have only been reported from the Kalahari Desert and Kinderdam sites. Astoundingly, during my field excursion in July 2020 to explore avenues for postdoctoral study, I noted series of cupule features and gongs that are well known to the locals but unknown to the scientific community. Questions that remain unanswered are: who made these features and for what purposes, what do the features mean to the local people; how many similar features are there and how widespread (spatial distribution) are they especially in the Singida region? Answering these questions will result in better understanding of creative works ingeniously displayed in the rock shelters of Singida, Tanzania.

Lecturer, Department. of Archaeology & Heritage Studies, University of Dar, University of Dar es Salaam  -  THE LOCAL PEOPLE’S PERCEPTION AND INTERPRETATION OF ROCK ART SITES IN THE SINGIDA REGION, TANZANIA

Eva Seraphim Tandoh Quansah
Eva Seraphim Tandoh Quansah  |  Abstract
Trokosi is a customary practice that is predominant in the Volta Region of Ghana. Trokosi requires that virgin girls are sacrificed to atone for the crimes of their relatives, which are ‘deemed reprehensible by the gods’. Due to its seeming violation of human rights, aadvocacy groups continue to call for the abolishment of trokosi. Others also lobby for the liberation of such victims from various shrines. Liberating the victims is one step towards easing the woes of their predicament, i.e. servitude and oppression. What then appears to be less explored in trokosi narratives is the post-trokosi life of the victims. Therefore, drawing on data from fieldwork, I seek to tell the story of how trokosi victims experience life outside the walls of the shrine in order to demonstrate issues of stigmatization, trauma, rehabilitation, and reintegration in order to highlight the adverse impacts of trokosi on African societies.

Lecturer, Centre for African and International Studies, University of Cape Coast  -  ‘A stranger among my own people’: Exploring the experiences of liberated trokosi victims in Mafi Traditional area of Ghana

Candice Donnah Jansen
Candice Donnah Jansen  |  Abstract
South African photographers Cedric Nunn (1956-) and Ernest Cole (1940 – 1990) are the focus of my fellowship application to revise my PhD dissertation into a manuscript. My dissertation brought to light unknown and personal information on both Nunn and Cole on whom little has been published. I draw from Nunn’s multi-media project about his family, Blood Relatives (2005) and his photographic project about his maternal grandmother, Madhlawu (1997) that was made during apartheid and only surfaced in the new South Africa. Cole produced the influential House of the Bondage (1967) and his archive surfaced after it was thought missing since the 1970s. Combining archival research, oral interviews, political biography, cultural theory with visual analysis, and moving between close readings of history, images, biography, and archival fragments, my study claims that Nunn and Cole were visual activists who deployed their practice through and against race classification as photographers classified coloured and self-identified as black.

Research Associate, Identities in Art & Design Research Center, University of Johannesburg  -  Cedric Nunn, Ernest Cole & Anti Apartheid Photography

Unaludo Sechele
Unaludo Sechele  |  Abstract
This project will analyse the shifting positions and responsibilities on Botswana society that occur when husbands returned to their families permanently after a period of labour migration. Being a patriarchal society, the protracted absence and subsequent return of ‘husbands’ has impact on the configuration of communities as well as the division of labour in Botswana. As historiography proved, when husbands were absent, in most cases wives became family heads. This involved adopting responsibilities normally reserved for the husband in patriarchal societies. As such this research elucidates the impact of the return of long-term labour migrants (husbands) on women’s position in the family and society. It will examine how women’s decision-making powers are affected by the presence of the returned husband, assess which rights and responsibilities women had to give up due to the return of the husband.

Postdoctoral Fellow, International Studies Group, University of the Free State  -  The Return of Husbands: Of Male Labour Returnees and Women in Botswana c.1970 to Present

Douglas Eric Kaze
Douglas Eric Kaze  |  Abstract
My research seeks to explore the depictions of urban environments in African poetry as a site of ecological interest. I plan to produce a series of articles that will focus respectively on poetic explorations of slum ecology in postcolonial cities, protest and urban ecology in apartheid South Africa and the ecology of diasporic/exile urban environments. Scholars of African and postcolonial literature have produced research works on the treatment of the environment in African literature, but not many of them have addressed African urban ecology. Most of them focus on rural environments, white South African nature writing and the petroleum problem in the Niger Delta. My work will address this using a theoretical framework be built on Felix Guattari’s idea of transversality, Garth Myer’s theory urban political environments (UPE) and Rob Nixon’s slow violence. I hope that this will contribute significantly to understanding the place of Africa in the global environmental crises.

Lecturer, English, University of Jos  -  Urban Ecology in African Poetic Imagination

Julius John Taji
Julius John Taji  |  Abstract
Chiyao, a Bantu language of southern Tanzania, has diverse plants vocabulary and makes extensive use of such vocabulary to refer to other entities such as places and people through metaphorical extension. Despite this richness in plant vocabulary, and its widespread use to refer to other objects, the linguistic and sociocultural aspects of the plant vocabulary in Chiyao have not been well described. Consequently, the conditions determining plant naming and metaphorical extension of plant names have remained unclear, and the morphological patterns exhibited by such nouns are yet to be determined. This study aims to investigate the factors determining the choice and metaphorical extension of Chiyao plant names, and establish their morphological patterns. The study will specifically analyze the morphological structure of nouns referring to plants, investigate the factors determining name assignment to plants, and identify the conditions determining the use of plants names to refer to other entities.

Lecturer, Foreign Languages and Linguistics, University of Dar es Salaam  -  Linguistic and sociocultural aspects of plant names in Chiyao

Sophie Komujuni
Sophie Komujuni  |  Abstract
The descriptive study argues for a critical understanding of how mobility impacts cultural retention for effective adaptability among adult refugees. In a triad, the study will investigate aspects of culture (tangible and intangible) or cultural practices that refugees bring with them to refugee settlements; the impact of the cultures in adaptability and how culturally inclusive/exclusive the host community of Bidibidi refugee settlement is. The study will focus on adult refugees for whom culture is an important aspect of their being, and who are often the custodians of cultures and practices. Empirical data will be collected on five aspects of native culture; spirituality; participation in economic activities; music and dance, rites of passage and conflict resolution mechanisms from Bidibidi refugee settlement in north western Uganda.

Lecturer, Department of Governance, Peace and International Studies, Uganda Martyrs University  -  Mobility, cultural retention and adaptability among the refugees in Bidibidi settlement in northwestern Uganda.

Enibokun Uzebu-Imarhiagbe
Enibokun Uzebu-Imarhiagbe  |  Abstract
This study critically investigates the increasing number of women judges in the High Courts in Nigeria. In many countries, women were initially prevented from gaining entrance into the legal professions, such that almost a century after gaining entrance, they remained marginalised, under-paid and underrepresented. This however, is not the case in Nigeria where women have made progress in terms of their entrance into the legal professions and their numbers on the High Court Benches. The study will use the framework of historical narrative and historical research methodology to analyse archival materials and court records complimented with qualitative interviews with judges, lawyers and litigants to identify the factors that led to the numerical increase of women judges in Nigeria. It seeks to demonstrate that the peculiar historical context as well as the career trajectories of women lawyers resulted in the numerical increase of women judges in Nigeria.

Lecturer, History and International Studies, University of Benin  -  Challenging the Narratives of Exclusion: A History of Women Judges in the Nigerian Judiciary

Uchechukwu Evelyn Madu
Uchechukwu Evelyn Madu  |  Abstract
In the Calabash of Wisdom and other popular Igbo folktales, Tortoise (Mbe), the folkloric witty trickster outlives the mere comic tag of the schemer and wise one to be a socio-cultural character that outwits itself. Tortoise is often laced with demeaning traits of misdirected wisdom, self-acclaimed superiority over a victim and uncontrolled selfishness. These traits not only negatively portray Igbo ideologies of independency, individualism and entrepreneurship, but are connected to organised Nigerian modern-day cyber crime tricks. This study comparatively examines the deployment of tortoise’s traits in five-selected foremost and popular Mbediogu’s collections and a corpus of media reports on the Nigerian 419 scams to reveal how the character of the tortoise transcends to the ‘wise’ deception and self-wrecking features in the internet fraud. Using literary (Archetypal) criticism and New Historicism, this study shows how distinctive, phishing, BEC schemes, spoofed e-mails, reflected in everyday Nigerian cyber crimes are semblances of Tortoise’s one-outwitting-self motif.

Lecturer I, English and Literary Studies, Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, Nigeria  -  “The Calabash of Wisdom” and Outwitting Oneself: Igbo Tortoise Trickster Image in Nigerian Cyber Financial Crime Narratives.

Sarah-Jane Walton
Sarah-Jane Walton  |  Abstract
This book explores ways in which the First World War affected Cape Town, addressing the absence of research on urban histories in South Africa and non-European urban histories of the war. By drawing on a variety of sources - government archives, organisational records, private papers, oral testimony and visual and print media - it demonstrates the infrastructural, economic and social consequences of the war on the city. The war is shown to be an integral period for understanding the way in which Capetonians identified and related to each other. Opinions about loyalism, Britishness and ideas about deserving citizenship shifted in response to wartime circumstances. Infrastructural challenges - including water and housing shortages, poor sanitation and wartime inflation - fed into how Cape Town was perceived: 'sin city,' 'slum city,' 'destination city.' These discourses informed debates and policies around health, segregation and who 'belonged' in the South African city.

Postdoctoral Fellow, International Studies Group, University of the Free State  -  Cape Town at War: The City, Lived Experiences and Loyalties, 1914-1919