African Humanities Program Dissertation 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. Dissertation awards are listed below; also see postdoctoral 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. 


Abayomi Olusola Awelewa
Abayomi Olusola Awelewa  |  Abstract
Nigerian literature has been shaped lately by Nigerian writers in the Diaspora. My project seeks to analyse, through the application of Carl Jung's theory of the Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, the recurring search for 'the lost self' in the works of six authors, namely: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Helon Habila, Helen Oyeyemi, Segun Afolabi, Uwem Akpan and Chika Unigwe. The thesis seeks answers to the questions of identity - a classification of 'self' made complicated by troubles at home (Nigeria) and the struggle for acceptance and survival in the foreign lands where these writers sojourn. The study is in two phases: (i) Twinship and the Nexus of Collective Unconscious in Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun, Habila's Measuring Time and Oyeyemi's The Icarus Girl; and (ii) Reaching for the Lost Self: Archetypal Reading of Afolabi's A Life Elsewhere, Akpan's Say You're One of Them and Unigwe's On Black Sisters' Streets.?????

Doctoral Candidate, English, University of Ibadan  -  Unending Quest for the Lost Self in New Nigerian Writings from the Diaspora

Victoria Oluwamayowa Ogunkunle
Victoria Oluwamayowa Ogunkunle  |  Abstract
Performance and participation are important meaning making resources in African music reality shows, but they have not been explored especially as they articulate cultural meaning in these shows. Therefore, this study investigates the issues of performance and participation in MTN Project Fame West Africa as they unravel socio-cultural meaning. It also explores how performance and participation portray the emergence of new culture in African music. A total of thirty episodes were selected from the first six seasons of the show. Five episodes were picked from each of the seasons, out of which ten performances were selected from each season making a total of sixty performances. The study adopts Norris (2004)’s Multimodal Interaction Analysis as framework and borrows insight from Goffman (1981)’s Participation Framework. The study seeks to illustrate that performance and participation in MTN Project Fame West Africa are important tools for articulating socio-cultural meaning and concerns in Africa.

Assistant Lecturer, English, Federal University Oye-Ekiti  -  Performance, Participation and Cultural Meaning in MTN Project Fame Music Reality Show: A Multimodal Approach

Eyitayo Tolulope Ijisakin
Eyitayo Tolulope Ijisakin  |  Abstract
Previous studies on printmaking in Nigerian art have been limited to exhibition catalogues, scanty newspaper reviews, and biographical sketches on very few printmakers. Despite the resourcefulness of printmakers in Nigeria, printmaking artists and their works remain victims of poor documentation; the paucity of research on this genre of art therefore calls for concern. This study underscores the burden of being the first critical attempt at researching into the silenced vocational and ideological directions of printmaking in Nigeria, from its inception in the mid-20th century to date. It therefore identifies, classifies and critiques the printmakers, the various printmaking events and also evaluates the contributions of printmaking practice to contemporary Nigerian art. The study draws on Narrative theory as argued by Barthes 1975, Bal 1985, and Chatman 1990. This PhD dissertation seeks to construct the history of printmaking and provide an insight into its place in the development of contemporary Nigerian art.

Lecturer, Fine & Applied Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University  -  Unveiling the treasures of Printmaking in contemporary Nigerian art

Aminu Ado Saidu
Aminu Ado Saidu  |  Abstract
The study focuses on Katsina Emirate of Northern Nigeria. The study seeks to explore issues that are pertinent to the evolution of forest conservation policies in Northern Nigeria, focusing particularly on the forces that shaped the policies and their implementation, both from within and outside the local communities, using Katsina Emirate as a case study. The study employs an integrative approach whereas some elements of political ecology and socio-economic theories are combined together to analyze evolution of forest conservation policies in the area. The study is mainly historical and it employs qualitative methods of data collection such as archival researches, documentary reviews, and interviews. Data are analyzed qualitatively using content analysis technique.

Assistant Lecturer, History, Umaru Musa Yar'adua University  -  A Historical Assessment of Forest Conservation Policies in Northern Nigeria: A Case Study of Katsina Emirate

Hamisi Mathias Machangu
Hamisi Mathias Machangu  |  Abstract
Drug trials on human subjects have had serious impacts on people's health and have resulted in many deaths all over the world. For a long period, these trials violated international standards for the protection of human subjects in Africa. This study examines the history of ethics of drug trials on human subjects in Tanzania from 1950 to 1980. It illustrates the nature and extent of unethical practices in drug trials on human subjects. The project reveals the conditions which made researchers persistently violate international ethical principles in drug trials on human subjects in Tanzania. The study establishes the way human subjects perceived unethical practices in drug trials, and unveils the nature of the responses which such perception elicited. The study also identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the internal policy and regulatory environment relating to the ethics of drug trials in Tanzania.

Assistant Lecturer, History, University of Dar es Salaam  -  Ethics of Drug Trials on Human Subjects in Tanzania, 1950 to 1980

Chidi Ugwu
Chidi Ugwu  |  Abstract
To local African publics, 'modern' intervention initiatives embody the nation-state and, at some distant level, the Western world. This indigenous ethnography, set in a locality in southeast Nigeria, will step further from the critique of the biomedical system of knowledge and power (as has been more commonly advanced by other scholars) to investigate local encounters with the malaria intervention initiative, engaging it not necessarily as a public health concern but as a platform on which the ‘global’ system interfaces with the local. Analysis will explore how the local publics envision, through the intervention initiative, access to state patronage and externally-driven potentials for progress. Exploring natives' imaginations of what potentials and possibilities that modern intervention initiatives embody will help us to grasp not just their visions of the world but also their changing images of their globalizing setting.

, Sociology & Anthropology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka  -  Negotiating Connections: An Indigenous Ethnography of the Local Landscape of a Transnational Health Intervention in Southeast Nigeria

Esther Msaky
Esther Msaky  |  Abstract
The main objective of this study is to examine the history of tuberculosis among the Chagga in Kilimanjaro region from the 1920s to 1960. This study indicates that the history of tuberculosis in Kilimanjaro is missing despite its prevalence throughout the British colonial rule. There has been no historical study that has analysed the causes for the spread of tuberculosis, people’s perceptions of tuberculosis, colonial tuberculosis control strategies, the responses of the Chagga to control strategies and the challenges of controlling the disease. This study will employ the qualitative approach that seeks to obtain culturally specific information about the values, opinions, behaviours and social contexts of particular populations in regard to the history of tuberculosis. The data collection methods include in-depth interview and archival research/documentary review. The research findings will be analyzed qualitatively through systematic examination, source corroboration, and interpretation of evidence in order to identify themes, biases and meanings

Assistant Lecturer, History, University of Dar es Salaam  -  A History of Tuberculosis in Kilimanjaro Region, 1920's to 1960