Breaking: Oxford University Appoints Nigerian Adebanwi First Black African Rhodes Professor

A Nigerian scholar, Wale Adebanwi has been
appointed to the prestigious Rhodes
Professorship in Race Relations in the School
of Interdisciplinary Area Studies at the
University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
Adebanwi, 47, is the first black African scholar
to be appointed to the endowed Chair since it
was created more than 60 years ago. His
predecessors are Professor Kenneth Kirkwood,
who occupied the chair for 32 years, Professor
Terence Ranger, and Professor William Beinart,
who retired from the position in 2015.Based on the position announcement, the
Rhodes Professor is adjudged “a scholar of
international distinction with an outstanding
record of research publications in the field of
African (sub Saharan) Studies and a proven
track record of leadership in research and
teaching.”
Adebanwi holds a BSc in mass communication
from the University of Lagos, M.Sc and Ph. D.
in political science from the University of
Ibadan, as well as MPhil and Ph.D. in social
anthropology from the University of Cambridge.
Recently, Dr Adebanwi was one of four former
Gates Scholars whose “amazing successes”
were acknowledged by the Microsoft chief, Bill
Gates, who funded his scholarship at
Cambridge more than a decade ago. Gates’s
acknowledgement of Adebanwi was part of the
video message he sent to a gathering of
current and former Gate Scholars at Cambridge
University during the Gates Cambridge Biennial
2016.
A prolific and versatile scholar, Adebanwi has
published widely in the areas of nationalism
and ethnic Studies, media and communication,
corruption and politics, democracy and
democratization, cultural politics, spatial
politics, urban studies, and social theory and
social thought. In his most recent book Nation
as Grand Narrative: The Nigerian Press and the
Politics of Meaning , published in 2016, Adebanwi
focuses his multi-disciplinary scholarship on
salient issues in Nigeria’s troubled history,
examining how debates in the newspaper press
shaped the narratives as well as the
configuration of power.
His influential book, Yoruba Elites and Ethnic
Politics in Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo and
Corporate Agency was published by Cambridge
University in 2014. His 2012 book, Authority
Stealing: Anti-corruption War and Democratic
Politics in Post-Military Nigeria was selected as
one of the three “Best Books on Africa in 2013”
by the journal, Foreign Affairs.
Author, editor or co-editor of 10 books,
Adebanwi has also published book chapters
and many articles in some of the most
prestigious journals of social science and
humanities scholarship. He has served as co-
editor of Journal of Contemporary African
Studies and is currently co-editor of Africa:
Journal of the International African Institute.
The new Rhodes Professor, formerly a lecturer
in political science at the University of Ibadan,
Nigeria, is a visiting professor at the Institute
for Social and Economic Research at Rhodes
University, Grahamstown, South Africa. He has
held visiting fellowships at St Anthony’s
College, Oxford, and the Centre for African
Studies in Leiden, The Netherlands, and was
awarded a Rockefeller fellowship for Academic
Writing Residency at its Bellagio Centre, Italy.
In 2005, he was a co-winner of a $100, 000
MacArthur Foundation Research grant.
Previously, Dr Adebanwi served as reporter,
writer and columnist for various publications in
Nigeria, among them Nigerian Tribune, The
Punch and TheNEWS, the weekly
newsmagazine that was at the spearhead of
the resistance to military dictatorship in
Nigeria. His 2008 book Trials and Triumphs:
The Story of TheNEWS, renders a vivid account
of that period.
A keen student of African and international
literature, he writes poetry and remains an
engaged contributor to the policy dialogue in
Nigeria.
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