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Two Nigerian scholars secure £900k British Academy research grant

The British Academy Global Professorships offers substantial funding totaling £900,000 over a span of four years to each recipient.
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Professor Abubakar Sani, former head of department at the archaeology and heritage studies at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) and Professor Olutayo Adesina, an esteemed member of the history department at the University of Ibadan (UI), have been bestowed with the esteemed British Academy Global Professorships for the academic term of 2023–24.

Among a select cohort of only eight scholars worldwide, both professors stand out for their groundbreaking research endeavors, which span a spectrum of critical global issues.

Other selected scholars were Tetyana Antsupova, Paul Behrens, Sandrine Berges, Karine Chemla, Saloumeh Gholami and Ayelet Landau.

In his capacity as a deputy director at the ABU Zaria Institute for Development Research and Training, Sani’s project is poised to revolutionise the discourse surrounding Nigerian heritage. His multifaceted endeavor intertwines the disciplines of archaeology, museum practice, and stakeholder engagement.

Expressing his vision for the research initiative, Sani stresses its potential to transcend disciplinary boundaries and catalyse a profound reevaluation of African history.

Central to his methodology is the integration of archaeological excavations, ethnographic fieldwork and comprehensive archival analysis, harnessing a rich reservoir of data housed within both British and Nigerian museums.

Adesina’s research agenda encompasses innovative approaches to addressing climate change through the optimization of food systems, as well as a profound exploration into the historical narratives of West African communities, leveraging museum collections as invaluable resources.

The British Academy Global Professorships offers substantial funding totaling £900,000 over a span of four years to each recipient.

This initiative aims to attract world-renowned scholars to the United Kingdom, to enhance collaborative research ventures across a diverse array of disciplines.

Professor Adesina’s pioneering research focus lies at the nexus of nationalist historiography, academic social science, and indigenous epistemologies.

His proposed investigation seeks to unravel the intricate interplay between these elements, particularly as manifested within the intellectual landscape of the vibrant city of Ibadan, situated in the Southwest region of Nigeria.

With a distinguished background that extends beyond academia, Professor Adesina serves as the President of the Society of Nigerian Archivists.

In his own words, Professor Adesina articulates the essence of his research endeavor: “The city of Ibadan had its own, rich and distinctive, cultural and intellectual identity. This project studies for the first time the interplay of nationalist historiography, academic social science, and vernacular knowledge as mutually constitutive social epistemologies.”

His research methodology integrates meticulous archival analysis with immersive fieldwork and extensive interviews within the local context of Ibadan.

By keying into historical works and interdisciplinary discourses encompassing sociology, anthropology, ethnomusicology, language, and literature, Professor Adesina endeavors to unveil the nuanced fabric of knowledge production within the African academic sphere.

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