47-year-old Nigerian scholar, Wale Adebanwi 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.
According to Vanguard, he is the first black African scholar to be appointed to the endowed chair since it was created more than 60 years ago. His predecessors are Professor Kenneth Kirkwood, who occupied the chair for 32 years, Professor Terence Ranger, and Professor William Beinart, who retired from the position in 2015.
Adebanwi, who is at the moment a professor at the University of California, Davis, United States, will also be a Fellow of St Anthony’s College, Oxford, effective July 1 and the next Director of the African Studies Centre of Britain’s oldest university.
The Nigerian Rhodes Professor is adjudged “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.”
Adebanwi holds a BSc in mass communication from the University of Lagos, M.Sc and Ph. D. in political science from the University of Ibadan, as well as MPhil and Ph.D. in social anthropology from the University of Cambridge.
The new Rhodes Professor, formerly a lecturer in political science at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, is a visiting professor at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. He has held visiting fellowships at St Anthony’s College, Oxford, and the Centre for African Studies in Leiden, The Netherlands, and was awarded a Rockefeller fellowship for Academic Writing Residency at its Bellagio Centre, Italy. In 2005, he was a co-winner of a $100, 000 MacArthur Foundation Research grant.
Previously, Dr Adebanwi served as reporter, writer and columnist for various publications in Nigeria, among them Nigerian Tribune, The Punch and TheNEWS, the weekly newsmagazine that was at the spearhead of the resistance to military dictatorship in Nigeria. His 2008 book Trials and Triumphs: The Story of TheNEWS, renders a vivid account of that period.
A keen student of African and international literature, he writes poetry and remains an engaged contributor to the policy dialogue in Nigeria.