– A Nigerian scholar has made history as the first Black African Rhodes professor of Oxford university
– Professor Wale Adebanwi has made history after many years of scholarly work
– The celebrated professor is an author, poet and veteran journalist
Wale Adebanwi a Nigerian scholar and poet 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.
The 47-year-old is therefore the first black African scholar to be appointed to the prestigious position since it was created more than 60 years ago.
Before Adebanwi, there had been professors like: Professor Kenneth Kirkwood, who occupied the chair for 32 years, Professor Terence Ranger, and Professor William Beinart, who retired from the position in 2015.
Before his appointment he was a professor at the University of California, Davis, United States, and he is also set to be a Fellow of St Anthony’s College, Oxford, from July 1, 2017.
The Rhodes Professorship in race relations is named for Cecil Rhodes a British businessman, mining tycoon and politician in South Africa who served as Prime Minister of Cape Colony from 1890-1896.
When he received the appointment, the body said of him: “He is 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.”
The professor studied in the university of Lagos (UNILAG), and holds a BSc in mass communication, he also holds a Ph. D. and M.Sc in political science from the University of Ibadan, as well as MPhil and Ph.D. in social anthropology from the University of Cambridge.
He has been acknowledged by Bill gates as one of four former Gates Scholars whose “amazing successes” were remarkable. Bill Gates funded his scholarship at Cambridge more than a decade ago.
He is also an author 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, which was 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.
He once served as reporter, writer and columnist for various publications in Nigeria, among them Nigerian Tribune, The Punch and TheNEWS, which was at the spearhead of the resistance to military dictatorship in Nigeria.