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BOOK REVIEW: Toyin Falola’s Decolonizing African Studies: Knowledge Production, Agency, And Voice



BOOK REVIEW: Toyin Falola's Decolonizing African Studies: Knowledge Production, Agency, And Voice
Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju


Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju

Having at last got my hands on Toyin Falola’s Decolonizing African Studies: Knowledge Production, Agency, and Voice, University of Rochester Press, 2022, I did a very fast speed reading of the book of 678 pages and careful exposition and argument, in order to discern its flavour, scope and thrust. An exercise of perhaps one hour, with the intention of returning later to more careful reading.

The book demonstrates Falola as a master of the protocols of writing a generally accessible academic book which is yet summative of the field in question, engaging significantly with its constitutive ideas. On account of the sheer scope of the work in terms of its sweeping coverage of practically every aspect of the subject, and its analytical range, the extensiveness of its engagement with the relevant issues and ideas in almost every aspect of African Studies, anyone who wants to gain an overview of the subject in depth is likely to find this book indispensable.

Toyin Falola's Decolonizing African Studies: Knowledge Production, Agency, And Voice

The book is written in terms of a combination of logical rigour and expressive accessibility, so that practically anyone can read it with benefit, from the undergraduate, to anyone new to the subject, to the advanced scholar in the field. The person new to the field will be introduced to its relevance, ideational scope, historical progression and the role of particular figures in the subject, across time and space. Such readers will also benefit from the summaries that conclude every chapter.

The advanced scholar in the field will encounter a multidisciplinary expansiveness that takes in practically every aspect of the humanities and social sciences, addressing these in terms of ideational detail, historical specificity and flow and analyses of the contributions of key figures, across practically all disciplines in African Studies except the sciences.

It would be great if Falola were also to go in more depth into similar issues in relation to the sciences in the African context, a task possible even if one has little background in science, since history and philosophy of science are quite accessible to all readers. Along those lines, the work of Aime Dafon Segla, Ron Eglash, Abdul Karim Bangura and Gloria Emeagwali, among other sources, could be very helpful. If Falola has addressed the sciences as a part of African Studies in depth in this or other texts, I apologise for my omission or misinformedness.

READ ALSO: Toyin Falola’s Decolonizing African Studies: Knowledge Production, Agency, And Voice

Along similar lines, one might take exception to aspects of Falola’s approach, envisaging variations of how the task of the book may be performed, such as his not seeming to discuss Isidore Okpewho’s pioneering work in African epic, even though Áfrican epic is engaged significantly in the text, complementing Falola’s co-edited cutting edge book on African orature published recently.

Decolonizing African Studies also seems not to contain one of the best things I have read from Falola, the essay ”Ritual Archives”, on the same subject as that of the book, and does not seem to have the compelling ”Pluriversalism, ” on the same subject, these two superb pieces, showing Falola at his individualistic best, written in the depth of adventurous ruminations, published in The Toyin Falola Reader. Apologies if I missed their presence in this book.

Such differences of perspective on how a project such as this book should be executed are part of the circumstances that frame any human project, talk less a work of such multidisciplinary range, ideational scope and historical sweep. As it is, this work, like Falola’s entire career, is an example of colossal ambition and drive, suggesting what can be done by an adequately determined person. The sheer level of reading demonstrated, the vastness of historical and ideational range covered, makes the text encyclopedic of its subject, such that, like some other books of Falola’s, if this were the only text he published, as an important landmark in the field, the work would permanently place his name in the record of the development of the field in question.


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Eye On Africa: Falola To Speak On Decolonizing African Knowledge



Eye On Africa: Falola To Speak On Decolonizing African Knowledge
Prof. Toyin Falola

The African Studies Center Weekly Speaker Series is set to feature Prof. Toyin Falola.

Falola will speak on the topic: Decolonizing African Knowledge: Autoethnography and African Epistemologies.

The event scheduled for
Thursday, September 22nd, 2022 will hold between 12:00 – 1:30 PM (EST).

For registration and participation, the following are the details of the Zoom Webinar :

For more information on the Eye on Africa series, including a full list of speakers, visit

Addressing the consequences of European slavery, colonialism, and neo-colonialism on African history, knowledge and its institutions, Decolonizing African Knowledge applies
autoethnography to the understanding of African knowledge systems. Considering the ‘Self’ and Yoruba Being (the individual and the collective) in the context of the African decolonial project, Falola strips away Eurocentric influences and interruptions from African epistemology. Avoiding colonial archival sources, it grounds itself in alternative archives created by memory, spoken words, images and photographs to look at the themes of politics, culture, nation, ethnicity, satire, poetics, magic, myth, metaphor, sculpture, textiles, hair and gender.

Falola is a Professor of History, University Distinguished Teaching Professor, and the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities, the University of Texas at Austin. He is an Honorary Professor, University of Cape Town, and Extraordinary Professor of Human Rights, University of the Free State.

READ ALSO: African Studies As A Matrix For Totalistic Knowledge: Exploring Toyin Falola’s Polymathic Creativity  In Relation To His Discussion Of Aesthetics In Decolonizing African Studies

He has served as the General Secretary of the Historical Society of Nigeria, the President of the African Studies Association, Vice-President of UNESCO Slave Route Project, and the Kluge Chair of the Countries of the South, Library of Congress. He has received over thirty lifetime career awards and sixteen honorary doctorates.

He has written extensively on the humanities, including The Humanities in Africa: Knowledge Production, Universities, and the Production of Knowledge, and Decolonizing African Studies: Knowledge Production, Agency, and Voices.

Falola is a celebrated author, editor, writer, poet, academic leader, organizer, teacher, and Pan-Africanist. Many of his books have received awards, defined various fields, and inspired the writings of various critical works.


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Conference In Honour Of Professor Bolanle Awe At 90



Conference In Honour Of Professor Bolanle Awe At 90


Organised by:

The University of Texas at Austin

University of Lagos

University of Ibadan


Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin

Professor Olufunke Adeboye, University of Lagos

Professor Rasheed Olaniyi, University of Ibadan

Dr Sharon Omotoso, University of Ibadan

Keynote Address:

Professor Olabisi Aina

Department of Sociology

Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Date: February 13-14, 2023 Venue: University of Ibadan

Call for Papers

History is undoubtedly the lifeline of every human society. It is an integral element in the intertwined processes of development and civilisation, which influence cultures, beliefs, and perceptions. Whether oral or written, history promotes data collection that helps put past trends in perspective and predicts future happenings as part of its role in achieving a sense of socio-philosophical coherence in any human context.

READ ALSO: Remembering Professor J. A. Atanda

Professor Bolanle Awe has made unrivalled contributions to Nigerian female historiography in particular and African history in general. As a result, the Bolanle Awe at 90 Conference tagged “Oral Traditions, Written Histories” will draw on the scholarship, career, and legacy of Nigeria’s foremost female history professor as she hits the nonagenarian milestone in January 2023.

During her illustrious academic career, Professor Bolanle Awe, a former Professor of Oral History at the University of Ibadan, was Editor of The Journal of the University of Lagos School of African Studies, a visiting scholar to several universities within and outside Nigeria, a consultant to governments and international bodies and agencies, as well as a member of several public and private-sector boards. It is no exaggeration that Professor Awe’s life is the veritable definition of a fulfilling academic career fused with commendable non-academic stints.

At her core, the nonagenarian is a researcher who focuses on solution-driven approaches to national and global problems, as evident in the posts she has held as Director at the Institute of African Studies, with the Women’s Research and Documentation Center (WORDOC), University of Ibadan, and with organisations including MacArthur Foundation, UNESCO, and UNFPA.

Remarkably, oral history is a forte of this amazon around whose works this conference is woven. Oral history has proven valuable in the collection and analysis of ancient, recent, and even contemporary historical data. Given the value it has placed on the spoken word from time immemorial, the African continent continues to rely heavily on oral history. Indeed, pre-colonial Africa was peopled by diverse civilisations with distinct histories, cultures, and beliefs, which influenced their paths to indigenous growth and development, and oral literacy was a key feature of each civilisation. However, oral literacy has its downsides, especially as it concerns inter-generational transmission and sustainable preservation of history. For instance, a ton of historical data and stories, mostly in the form of written history, have been lost owing to the lack of a proper tracking system.

Oral historiography has always been beset by the incremental loss of its credibility and the regrettable loss of humongous amounts of oral historical data and stories due to a lack of documentation.

READ ALSO: Critical Thinking, Questionstorm and School System in Africa

Moreover, the more stories were orally transmitted, the less reliable they tended to become. Luckily, African History as a discipline has greatly benefited from the emergence of Oral History as an academic subfield in history. African History is now in less danger of not being preserved due to the methodologies of oral history that allow historians to collect oral historical data and transform them into written form. While the rest of the world has largely transitioned to written history and documentation, African historians are yet to achieve full documentation of histories that were formerly oral.

Nevertheless, practitioners must be mindful that written history cannot fully replace oral historical data, especially when it comes to the role of human historical sources in traditional religious practices across Africa, for instance. Thus, it should be noted that oral history and studies in oral history form only an integral and indispensable part of history as an academic discipline. Therefore, a major question that this conference seeks to answer is: What are the most important landmarks in oral historical studies in the past sixty years? As valuable and integral as oral history is to the continued existence of human societies, it faces a wide range of challenges, including a lack of access to its custodians.

Certain studies in oral history have stalled due to the inability to access a key informant; therefore, we expect participants at the conference to interrogate such issues as well as others, particularly those concerning the past, present, and continued roles of both academic and non-academic historians in the study of African societies. We expect presentations to cover unique and general issues in oral and written history while examining the breakthroughs and challenges of oral history as a sub-field of History. Ideally, we will place primacy on the past sixty years as a significant marker of when Professor Bolanle Awe started her academic journey as a historian. Also, we will welcome articles that seek directly to expand the frontiers of her works, be it reviews, critiques, and/or theoretical developments. However, studies that go further back in time will be accepted too. Another main turf of this celebrated scholar is women/gender studies in Nigeria – how did this additional frame intersect with oral and written histories?

This announcement calls for papers that will examine various themes related to the studies, challenges and breakthroughs of oral history, the impact of written histories, and the role of both academic and non-academic historians. We, therefore, invite papers on the following areas and closely related ones:

Bolanle Awe and Oral History

Bolanle Awe and Gender Studies

Bolanle Awe and WORDOC (Leadership, Mentorship and Succession)

Bolanle Awe and Yoruba/Nigerian History

Illustrious Women in Nigerian History

Women and Domesticity in Modern Nigeria

Women in the Nigerian Public Sphere

Nigerian Women in Popular Culture and the Arts

Gender Studies in Nigeria

Women Historians in the Past 60 Years

Studies of Oral History in the Past 60 Years

Professional Oral Historians Outside the Academy

Advances in African Historiography

Oral Traditions and Digital Technology

New Sources in African Historiography

Participants are expected to follow these guidelines:

Each proposal must include:

1) Title of the work and an abstract of 250 words

2) Name of the presenter (with the surname underlined)

3) Phone number

4) Email

5) Mailing address

6) Institutional affiliation

7) Three to five keywords that best describe the themes and topics relevant to the submission.


Proposals for Panels (3-5 presenters) must include:

1) Title of the panel and a collective summary of 250 words on the panel’s theme, including the title of each individual work

2) A 250-word abstract for each speaker’s presentation

3) Mailing address

4) Phone number

5) Email

6) Institutional affiliation of each presenter.

Interested authors should follow these editorial guidelines:

Please use Bolanle Awe at 90 Conference as the subject title for your submission.

Font: Times New Roman, Size 12, double-spaced.

All abstracts must be submitted by September 30, 2022, to:

Notification of acceptance: October 15, 2022

Full papers are to be submitted by January 10, 2023

Conference Registration

Academics within Nigeria — N20, 000

Students within Nigeria — N15, 000

International Faculty — $100

International Students — $50

For enquiries, please contact: Olusegun Olopade

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Tribute To Queen Elizabeth II



Tribute To The Queen Elizabeth II

By Victoria Praise Abraham


Adieuto the queen.

The queen of our hearts has passed.
The queen of our hearts is gone.

A worthy queen she was. An uncommon queen for life
A selfless, devoted and dutiful queen is gone who reigned for seventy years.
The queen of hearts has passed away to a yonder far away.

A beautiful queen,
A wonderful queen
A selfless and worthy queen.

 READ ALSO: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth Dies At 96

Thank you to our queen for living a life of love, devotion and service.
Adieu to our queen.
Adieu to our Elizabeth the II.

You came O queen of hearts, you saw and you conquered!!!!
May God Almighty rest the queen of our hearts forever
A selfless and worthy queen.

. Abraham is an award-winning author.


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