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. 


Kudus Oluwatoyin Adebayo
Kudus Oluwatoyin Adebayo  |  Abstract
China-Africa relations have grown rapidly since the twenty-first century. As a deeply consequential encounter for both sides, the relationship is producing flows of capital, goods, people and communities. This study explored the migration and community formation processes of Nigerian trade diaspora in Guangzhou, the biggest city in South China. Based on 3-months ethnographic fieldwork and qualitative data collected through observation, life histories (3), and in-depth (38) and key informant (10) interviews with Nigerians and Chinese, it examined the "organization of people in trade," as against the "organization of trade," by describing emergent and established community structures of Nigerian traders in China. Specifically, it investigated how community formation is shaped by intra-diasporic dynamics, norms, values and contexts of inclusion/exclusion, legality/illegality, surveillance and processes of “othering” in China. The study advances knowledge on Anglophone African diasporas in Asia, and provides ground for engaging in comparative study of African communities in Chinese society.

Teaching Assistant, Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan  -  International Migration and Formation of Nigerian Trade Diaspora in Guangzhou, China

Laury Lawrence Ocen
Laury Lawrence Ocen  |  Abstract
The project examines how post-war northern Uganda is re-imagined by war memorials. Interest groups like governments, politicians, and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) often claim ownership of war memorials. In the process the place and agency of ordinary people who represent everyday experiences of war is eclipsed. I argue that war memorials have textual and artistic properties that offer multifarious possibilities of interpreting the history of war, in a way that offers expressive space for everyday memory of war. I look at how war memorials influence location, how they are read by survivors, victims, NGOs, and civil societies. What "silences" and "absences" do they produce, and what new "voices" do they generate? What local technologies of memory do ordinary people mobilise, as alternative/complementary memorialization to the grand narratives circulated at public sites? I focus on four massacre sites at Balonyo, Attiak, Lukodi, and Abia; where memorialization focus on climactic memories while paying very little attention to the process of war.

Doctoral Candidate, Makerere Institute of Social Research, Makerere University  -  Reading Monuments: Politics and Poetics of Memory in Post-War Northern Uganda

Olubunmi Funmi Adegbola
Olubunmi Funmi Adegbola  |  Abstract
The discourse of homosexuality gained more prominence in the Nigerian print media following the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the U.S.This study, therefore, explores the linguistic representations of people's opinions about the discourse of homosexuality in the Nigerian print media.This is because the language use of an individual reveals the ideologies of the individual. Studies on homosexuality in the Nigerian context have focused on Nollywood movies and the topic has been seen from the sociological, philosophical and the religious perspectives, neglecting the linguistic perspective in the Nigerian print media, which is the focus of this study. The study seeks to identify the prevalent themes/issues in these discourses, explore how homosexuality/homosexuals are linguistically represented in the Nigerian print media, discuss the discursive strategies that have ideological imprints and explore the attitude of Nigerians about the subject, using linguistic tools. For the purpose of the study, five popular Nigerian newspapers (Vanguard, Punch, Guardian, Tribune and the Sun) will be critically examined and subjected to both quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis. Homosexuality issue covered in the Nigerian print media for a period of three years (2013-2014) will be analyzed and presented in this study. Data will be purposively selected from Editorials, news reports, open letters and comments based on homosexuality and same sex marriage which is the focus of this study. Data analysis will be done using Fairclough's approach to critical discourse analysis and Halliday's Systemic Functional Linguistics.

Doctoral Candidate, English Department, University of Ibadan  -  Linguistic Representations of Public Reactions and Points of view in the Discourses of Homosexuality in the Nigerian Print Media

Ndukaku Okorie
Ndukaku Okorie  |  Abstract
Impartiality is seen as a fundamental requirement of morality, such that thinking morally implies thinking impartially. Contrary to this view, partialists are of the view that impartiality as a moral point of view is against the very nature of human personal relationships. This defines the problem of impartiality in ethics. Most works in this debate have focused on the disagreements between partialist and impartialist theories. However, it has not been adequately demonstrated that impartialist theories have partialist interpretations. This study argues that an interpretation of some partialist and impartialist theories will reveal that impartialist theories could be given partialist interpretation and vice versa. Hence, the gap between them is not as wide as ethicists contend. An impartialist could accept some partialist principles while a partialist could also endorse some impartialist principles. The conclusion is that the rivalry being claimed to exist between partialists and impartialists in ethics is not as forceful as generally believed.

Lecturer II, Department of Philosophy, Obafemi Awolowo University  -  Ethical Universalism and The Impartialist Thesis

Ada Agada
Ada Agada  |  Abstract
Immanuel Kant comprehensively criticized and rejected the classical ontological, cosmological, and teleological proofs of God's existence on the grounds of their probabilistic status. He turned to the moral field for justification of the belief in God. His analysis of the summum bonum, or the highest good, yielded the notions of virtue and happiness. Since it is logical for virtue to be rewarded with happiness and since nature itself cannot bring this about, there must exist an omnipotent Being outside the world who harmonizes virtue with happiness. Kant identified this Being as God. This work critically examines Kant's dismissal of the classical metaphysical arguments and rejects the basis of his dismissal. This work asserts that empirical scientific evidence from Big Bang cosmology lends to these proofs a level of probability and plausibility high enough to restore their pre-Kantian integrity.

Assistant Lecturer, Benue State University  -  The Problem of God's Existence in the Philosophy of Immanuel Kant

Blessing Nonye Onyima
Blessing Nonye Onyima  |  Abstract
Focusing on cattle nomads in Ibarapa, south-west Nigeria, the study examines cattle economic activities, ecological variables, and migratory patterns in relation to their influence on access to health care among medically under-served nomadic population. In sub-Saharan Africa, pastoralists such as cattle nomads dwell in marginal band communities, highly volatile and unsecured environments, often beyond the reach of modern health care systems. Limited ethnographic studies exist on cattle nomads' access to health care, health hazards associated with practice of pastoral economy and adaptive strategies employed by nomads against cattle-economy-oriented health risks. The present study employs ecological approaches and location theory to explain the nexus between pastoral economy, environment and health care access using ethnographic methods. The study demonstrates the role ecological complexities play in limiting health care access, other than the over flogged political-economic explanations of inequitable health care among nomads living in the outer periphery of modern health care system.

, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University  -  Pastoral Economy and Access to Health Care Systems among Cattle Nomads in Ibarapa South-Western Nigeria

Ashura Jackson
Ashura Jackson  |  Abstract
This research is a historical analysis of how socio-economic and political dynamics influenced the development of African Independent Churches in Mbeya Region, Tanzania, 1920s-1985. The goal is to assess how the changing socio-economic and political dynamics influenced the emergence, development and persistence of African Independent Churches in Mbeya from the 1920s to 1985. The study relies on evidences drawn from written archives documents and in-depth interviews. From a scrutiny of these data, the study establishes that specific economical, social and political contexts facilitated the emergence and development of AICs. Therefore, there was a relationship between, on one hand, the human beings’ socio-economic and political undertakings and the emergence of AICs. The significance of this study lies in uncovering the material basis of AICs in Tanzania by documenting the interplay between AICs and socio-economic and political changes. The study also highlights the importance of AICs in opening up and expanding the opportunities for freedom of worship in Tanzania starting from the 1920s.

Assistant Lecturer, History Department, Mkwawa University College of Education  -  Socio-Economic and Political Dynamics on the Development of African Independent Churches in Mbeya Region, 1920's to 1985

Saheed Oke Raheem
Saheed Oke Raheem  |  Abstract
Traditional markers of identities are constantly being altered or discarded in today's digital age due to development in communication technologies. However, existing works in Nigeria have been on traditional sociolinguistics, to the neglect of the linguistic and cultural flows across the world. It is against this backdrop that this study examines the (re)construction of identities on Nairaland Online Forum. Using data from the forum, the study explores the deployment of language to (re)construct identities, and discuss the implications of these linguistic practices on language spread and linguistic globalization. Drawing insights from Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT), Giles (1973); Coupland & Coupland (1991); Multiple Voices, Myers-Scotton (2006); and Language Crossing, Rampton (1995), the study seeks to identify and analyze patterns of identity, and highlight linguistic practices deployed to construct identities in intergroup interactions. Through an in-depth analysis of the discourse, this study will foreground and enable us to appreciate better the flow of linguistic practices across the world in today’s digitalized age.

Assistant Lecturer, Department of English., Obafemi Awolowo University  -  A Sociolinguistic Study of Identity (Re)construction on Nairaland Online Forum

Hauwa Sani Mohammed
Hauwa Sani Mohammed  |  Abstract
The project,A Linguistic Stylistic Analysis of Gender Variations in Selected Television News Reportage will examine 58 news reports in the three selected television channels of British Broadcasting Corporation(BBC), Nigerian Television Authority(NTA) and Channels Television Lagos. Content analysis would be used to determine whether or not there were lingustic gender differences in the themes and rhemes of the reporters and in the type of stories they reported. A survey in the form of personal and structured interviews would be conducted to find out the implications of the linguistic gender variations on the target audience. Halliday's (2004) textual analysis of themes and rhemes would serve as both theoretical and analytical model for the study.

Assistant Lecturer, Department of English and Literary Studies, Ahmadu Bello University  -  A Linguistic Stylistic Analysis of Gender Variations in Selected Television News Reportage

Gideon Yohanna Tambiyi
Gideon Yohanna Tambiyi  |  Abstract
This research focuses on an unpublished discovered Sahidic Coptic bi-folio 4th century parchment of Matthew 2:11-16 which preserves the early account of Jesus and his parents coming to Africa. Dated c. AD 300-350 and discovered in Egypt, it is owned by a private collector in California with number P.Aslan.112. It has two leaves of the middle of the quire and contains 11 lines with approximately 10 letters per line. This thesis will embrace transcription, descriptive-analytical method laid down by Bentley Layton, collation, palaeography and historical method for analysis. New Testament textual scholarship will be enhanced through the analysis of this Coptic parchment supplemented by 70 and the result will be made available to the academic world as a means to contribute and restore the original text of Matthew 2:11-16 in the Sahidica and the Greek New Testament. It will be the first ground-breaking textual research in Sub-Saharan Africa.

, International School of Prophecy and Biblical Studies  -  Recovering Matthean Text of the Holy Family in Africa: A Greek and Coptic Reconstruction in African Biblical Scholarship

Azuka Abigail Nzoiwu
Azuka Abigail Nzoiwu  |  Abstract
Funerals in South Eastern Nigeria have become increasingly visible practices. An important aspect of this visibility lies in photographs. In the past ten years obituary posters have transited from A 4 or A 2 sized pictures to life size digital prints. Not only that, the style of advertising the posters have also changed from postings on the walls to free standing life sized photographs mounted on strategic sites at the deceased towns or villages. My research examines these changes in the Igbo region of Eastern Nigeria. I argue that the emergence of new kinds of visual technologies has affected the Igbo quest for visibility in funerals. I show that in Igbo funerals, new forms of obituary photographs help individuals to articulate alternative visual imaginations of modernity. These visual imaginations exude a popular image of symbolic wealth.

Lecturer II, Department of Fine and Applied Arts., Nnamdi Azikiwe University  -  Obituary Photographs and the Imagination of Visual Modernities in Eastern Nigeria