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Nigerian scholar wins 27th academic award with $50,000 fellowship

The award which includes a cash support of $50,000, aims to support innovative approaches to dissertation research in the humanities and interpretative social sciences.
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Chijioke Onah, a Nigerian scholar based in the United States, has been awarded the 2023 Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowship, marking his 27th local and international academic award since 2013.

The American Council of Learned Society (ACLS) announced the award in a press release, saying that Onah’s project, “Toxic Intimacies: The (Bio) Politics of Waste and Disposability in Africa and African Diaspora,” was chosen from a pool of approximately 700 entries from around the world.

Onah, who is from Enugu State and earned a degree in Combined English and History from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is now a PhD student at Cornell University in the US, where he specialises in Black Atlantic Literature, African Studies, Trauma and Memory Studies, and Environmental Humanities.

The ACLS, a scholarship giant, runs the award programmme in partnership with the Mellon Foundation to support “exceptional emerging” scholars who are conducting pioneering research.

The award includes a cash support of $50,000, and is a new category of a series of fellowship and grant programmes of ACLS, which aims to support innovative approaches to dissertation research in the humanities and interpretative social sciences.

Joy Connolly, President of the donor organisation, explained that the award programme is aimed at supporting and encouraging bold and innovative doctoral students in the humanities and interpretative social sciences through their dissertation research, especially at the formative stage of dissertation development.

Forty-four other scholars, including three other Nigerians, were named as 2023 fellowship awardees and will also receive $50,000 in cash support each.

In response to the announcement, Onah expressed his excitement and gratitude for the recognition and dedicated the award to all indigent students in Nigeria and Africa. He said the award was a validation of hard work and a push to do more, and thanked the award donors for finding his work worthy of selection.

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