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. 


Adeyinka Olusola Adeoye
Adeyinka Olusola Adeoye  |  Abstract
Studies on Christian religious discourse have dealt with the nature and functions of language use in different contexts of prayer, sermon, theological discourse, the Bible and the like, paying less attention to the discursive construction of doctrinal religious ideology in Christian magazine discourse. This study however investigates the patterns of polyphonous construction of doctrinal Christian ideology in selected doctrinal articles of Awake! and Life Christian magazines. The study is oriented by Roulet’s framework for analyzing language polyphony and Van Dijk’s socio- cognitive theory of discourse. Explicit elements of polyphony, and direct quotation and indirect speech or paraphrase; and implicit elements of polyphony such as conjunction, discourse markers, and negations will be examined for the ideological functions of self-group emancipation and other group derogation, towards accounting for the various voices or viewpoints as different pointers to ideological meanings.

Lecturer I, English, Ajayi Crowther University  -  Forms and Functions of Polyphony in Selected Doctrinal Articles of Awake! and Life Christian Magazines

Christowaja Ntandu
Christowaja Ntandu  |  Abstract
This proposed work aims at using the ubiquitous scattered materials found at Maramba to examine the Socio- economic aspects of Early Iron Working (EIW) period on Northern Coast of Tanzania. Maramba is found at 30 kilometers from the coastal strip of Tanga Bay. It is known that, for more than 40 years, the archaeologists have learnt about the culture of EIW period particularly on the coast of Tanzania mainly through their ceramic and iron technology. Some aspects such as subsistence, art and exchange were not thoroughly examined. While this proposed research seeks to establish the culture history of Maramba area, it also aims at understanding other socio-economic activities associated with EIW culture period. Survey and Excavation are the basic techniques that will be employed. The survey will be used to allocate and identified potential sites with EIW materials while the excavation will be used recover the subsurface archaeological data.

, Archaeology, University of Dar es Salaam  -  Socio-Economic Aspects of Early Iron Working Period on Tanzanian Northern Coast; a Case of Maramba

Esther Olukemi Ajiboye
Esther Olukemi Ajiboye  |  Abstract
Biafra agitations in Nigeria have received scholarly attention from political, historical, economic, and sociological perspectives, yet there are not many linguistic studies on the agitations. This study, therefore, examines stance-taking in interactions about Biafra agitations within two Nigerian digital communities, namely, Nairaland and Nigeria Village Square. The study engages the appraisal framework (AF) together with the socio-cognitive and dialectical-relational approaches to Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) in its methodology. AF guides a critical analysis of evaluative language in the data and CDA is used to uncover the ideological orientations and discursive practices that inform varied positions about the Biafra situation, as well as the implicit meanings that are generated while interactants take stances. This study would illuminate the potential toxicity or benefits of the proliferation and distribution of stances about issues of national concern, especially when these are expressed on global platforms like the Internet.

Assistant Lecturer, Department of Languages, Covenant University  -  Stance-Taking in Nigerian Digital Communities: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Citizens’ Engagements on Biafra Agitations

Kwame Osei-Poku
Kwame Osei-Poku  |  Abstract
This dissertation focuses on significant issues about identity and ideology in three categories of selected archived travelogues published in the West African Review magazine during the pre-independence period. What is most essential to this dissertation is a concern about how African authored travel writing within the colonial period might conceive notions about local identity, and contribute to ideological construction while using a multifaceted or interdisciplinary approach in the analyses of these discursive categories.These African authored travelogues were produced in a period when there was no academic focus on non-European travel. Accordingly, the focal points of these travelogues are the representations of urban spaces in Africa, the extensive influence of European and American cultural lifestyles on Africans, perceptions about racial discrimination, inequality among Africans and similar experiences in Western spaces, as well as insights on the colonised’s impressions of the West.

Assistant Lecturer, Department of English, University of Ghana  -  Ideology and Identity in Selected African Authored Travelogues in The West African Review Magazine in The Pre-Independence Period

Mariam Laraba Birma
Mariam Laraba Birma  |  Abstract
Throughout the history of translation, the domain has always faced problems of cultural, social and aesthetic expressions and extra-linguistic undertones. This work is a study of Transposition and Modulation in the works of Simone Schwarz-Bart’s Pluie et vent sur Telumée Miracle and Myriam Warner-Vieyra’s Juletane and their English versions, The Bridge of beyond and Juletane respectively. Our interest, in this study, is to assess how transposition and modulation serve in both translations by explain the socio-cultural difference of the two languages. The functional and cultural approaches will be used in order to prove that the cultural aspects play a major role in relaying a message from one language to another. The two translation techniques portray cultural undertones that are recognised or not and transferred by the translator. Linguistic and Postcolonial Translation theories will serve as models for the analysis of the study.

Lecturer I, Department of French, Ahmadu Bello University  -  Transposition and Modulation: A Comparative Study of The Bridge of Beyond and Juletane

Olushola Ebenezer Oyadiji
Olushola Ebenezer Oyadiji  |  Abstract
The study seeks to further the line of inquiries into the conceptualisation, use and interpretation of politeness in human interactions. Its aim is to explicate politeness in the interactions of Netizens in Nigerian news-based virtual communities: a relatively new and expanding community of language users. Its data are to be collected through observation and capture of reactions to online news items from these multicultural virtual communities generated by online news agencies, purposively sampled to represent the Nigerian geo-political zones and political ideologies, over a period of two years. The data are to be subjected to qualitative analysis based on an eclectic analytical framework suffused with insights from Lim and Bowers’ model of Face Theory, Sociopragmatic Interactional Principles, Face Negotiation and Rapport Management, Netiquette and Neuliep’s model of Context. Conclusions based on the findings shall form the basis of its recommendations to future researchers and Netizens in the Nigerian cyberspace.

, College of Education, Ila-Orangun Campus, Ekiti State University  -  Politeness in the Interactions of Nigerian News-Based Virtual Communities

Sanusi Ibrahim Chinade
Sanusi Ibrahim Chinade  |  Abstract
Zaynab Alkali is one of the dominant voices in Northern Nigerian women writings that attempt to represent the nature of existence of the woman in a largely partiarchal society. In all her works, she provides an insight into the cultural (and sometimes religious) limitations on the woman and the hierarchical relationships which form the oppressive social structures in Northern Nigeria. This research analyses the strategies Alkali's heroines adopt to survive and achieve self-actualisation within the society. The Stillborn (1984), The Virtuous Woman (1986) and Cobwebs and Other Stories (1997) portray heroines who are engrossed in the societal cultural expectations such as marriage, child bearing and motherhood. Their dreams of achieving self-fulfilment are woven around men and marriage. However, in The Descendants (2005) and The Initiates (2007), the heroines are strong, intellegent, complex and are new women who put more efforts in their career and self-development instead of men, marriage and motherhood. Alkali's shift from representation of heroines that believe in marriage, male and female bonding and centrality of the family to representing heroines that do not conform to the societal feminine orientations of marriage, family and dependence on men is the focus of this research.

Assistant Lecturer, Department of English, Federal University Dutse  -  Analysis of the Paradigm Shift in the Fictional Works of Zaynab Alkali

Justice Eddie Quainoo
Justice Eddie Quainoo  |  Abstract
In its contribution to national discussions and research on Ghanaian political discourse, national identity, unity and development, this study investigates the inaugural addresses of four presidents in Ghana’s Fourth Republic viz. Fmr. Presidents Rawlings, Kufuor, Mills and Mahama. The overarching aim of this research focus is to show, through the language of the inaugurals, what and how the leaders have used their respective opportunities to construct various personal, socio-political and cultural meanings and identities. Based on a triangulation approach involving Corpus Linguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Systemic Functional Grammar, the study 1) offers a useful theoretical and methodological paradigm for doing political discourse analysis in Ghana , 2) highlights the utility of Ghanaian presidential inaugurals as important sites for various discourses about Ghana’s socio-political journey, and 3) provides a utile scholarly avenue for emancipatory discussions (and actions) on aspects of Ghana’s past, present and future political discourse.

Doctoral Candidate, Department of English, University of Ghana  -  A Corpus-Driven Discourse Analysis of Ghanaian Presidential Inaugural Addresses

Ajibola Akin Fabusuyi
Ajibola Akin Fabusuyi  |  Abstract
This study evaluates the German translations of Wole Soyinka's Aké, Years of Childhood and Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God as prototypes of Anglophone African Literary text-type. It uses Katharina Reiss’ Text-typological Evaluation Approach (1971) to evaluate data collected, which include the various intra- and extralinguistic elements of the source texts and the translators' choices in the German translations. It pays special attention to the analysis of linguistic elements in the texts as adopted by the authors to bring out the socio-cultural realities of the source-culture. It deviates a little from existing studies of this nature, which have mostly focussed on issues of equivalence, domestication, alienation etc. The study reveals how the use of appropriate analytical tools can reveal the socio-cultural elements in Anglophone literary text-type as exemplified in Soyinka and Achebe’s writings, especially Aké, Years of Childhood and Arrow of God.

Assistant Lecturer, Department of Foreign Languages, Obafemi Awolowo University  -  Evaluation of German Translations of Soyinka’s Aké: Years of Childhood and Achebe’s Arrow of God

(Yusuf) Joseph Kajura Serunkuma
(Yusuf) Joseph Kajura Serunkuma  |  Abstract
Exploiting the craft and aesthetics of popular culture in Hargeisa, this study examines the ways in which Somaliland nationalism—as an independent state—is mobilised after the 1991 civil war. Focused on questions relating to history, identity and aspirations, this study argues broadly that Somaliland is constructed as a foil for Somalia in every aspect of its new imaginary: In its secessionist state, Somaliland is crafted as representative of (a) a strict Islamic public identity (b) victims of a failed pan-Somali nationalist project, and (c) a developmental state that is also democratic. Through a performative and textual analysis of popular culture in Hargeisa, Somalia-Mogadishu emerges as a detested but permanent interlocutor. Indeed, although most of scholarship celebrates the over 25 years of peace and stability in Somaliland, sustaining the images and histories of violence and victimhood in its political, performative and institutional symbolisms suggests a country still at war.

Doctoral Student, Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR), Makerere University  -  Making Somaliland: Popular Culture, Identity and Recognition

Clifford Terhide Gbasha
Clifford Terhide Gbasha  |  Abstract
Today we have several spiritual healing churches in Nigeria despite the increase in modern health care services. The study examines how socio-cultural factors beyond the religious factors influence the use of spiritual health care services provided by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Healing ministry in Tiv-society. The study adopts the phenomenological and cultural anthropological methods in its survey. The target population for the study comprises of three Roman Catholic dioceses’ in Tiv-land; one parish each is selected for close study of charismatic healing activities. The respondents will be drawn from fourteen local government areas within Tiv geographies. A random sampling technique of Catholics will be used to select 500 respondents. A self-completed questionnaire and tape recorded interviews of persons who have experienced healing will be used to narrate their experiences.

Assistant Lecturer, Department of Christian Religious Studies, Taraba State University  -  Healing Ministry of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Tiv Society

Isaac Tibasiima
Isaac Tibasiima  |  Abstract
This study examines secondary school music competitions, a major event on the national calendar. It particularly analyses song as a performance of nation mainly because the competitions have, over the years, concentrated on themes around national experience. The research discusses the ‘original song composition’ item as a distinct subset of the larger corpus of secondary school inter-house song competition. Drawing on Postcolonial and Performance Theories, it examines the ‘original song composition’ as a neo-traditional performance site where national experiences are not homogeneous, but are at a deeper level full of complexities and tensions. Performance is seen as a communicative process which draws on a plurality of voices. The debate on the nation portrayed in the ‘original song composition’ demonstrates that students consciously and unconsciously perceive the nation as a site of interactions, intersections and contentions of identities and power with the nation as an amalgamation of layered experiences, thoughts and relationships.

Assistant Lecturer, Department of Literature, Makerere University  -  Song and Nation: A Study of Secondary School Music Competition Original Song Composition in Uganda

Mufutau Oluwasegun Jimoh
Mufutau Oluwasegun Jimoh  |  Abstract
Perhaps more than any other disease, bubonic plague has been historically and epidemiologically entangled with the urban environment. Still, even after its genetic identification, its mode of transmission and persistence in the city and its evolving forms remains subject to debate across different field of scholarship, time and space None of the diseases that ravaged colonial Lagos equaled the bubonic plague in impact on livelihood, social temperament and physical morphology of the town. Yet, holistic studies of the socio-economic and political dynamics of the bubonic plague in Lagos, particularly the dispositions of indigenous population to colonial control measures of the epidemic, appear to be in short supply. This study examines the management of the plague, within the larger contexts of the British colonial public health policies and medical perceptions of and attitude to the colonised. The study employed the use of oral interviews and archival sources and secondary data.

Assistant Lecturer, History, Federal University Birnin Kebbi  -  The Management of Bubonic Plague and Slum Clearance in Colonial Lagos: 1924 to 1957