OXFORD University has announced the appointment of a United States-based Nigerian scholar, Wale Adebanwi, to the prestigious Rhodes Professorship in Race Relations in the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies.
The announcement was made in the Oxford University gazette recently. Adebanwi is the first black African to be appointed to the endowed Chair which was created in 1954.
Adebanwi, who was for many years a member of the Nigerian Tribune editorial board, is presently a professor at the University of California, Davis, United States. As Rhodes Professor, he will also be a Fellow of the St. Anthony’s College, Oxford effective July 1.
The Rhodes Professorship in Race Relations is named after Cecil Rhodes, British businessman, mining magnate and politician in South Africa who served as Prime Minister of Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. The professorship was established by the Rhodesian Selection Trust Mining Company in 1954 at Oxford.
Oxford University is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s second oldest university in continuous operation. The university has produced 28 Nobel laureates, 27 British Prime Ministers and many foreign heads of state.
The new Rhodes Professor was a Bill and Melinda Gates Scholar at Cambridge University. He holds two PhDs, one in political science from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and the other social anthropology from the University of Cambridge, UK. In September 2014, alongside three other former Gates scholars, his “amazing success” since graduating from Cambridge was acknowledged by the world’s richest man, Bill Gates. Gates funded the scholarship with which Adebanwi studied at Cambridge. Gates’s acknowledgement was part of the video message he sent to a gathering of current and former Gate Scholars at Cambridge University during the Gates Cambridge Biennial 2016.
Adebanwi has published widely in the areas of nationalism and ethnic studies, media and communication, corruption and politics, democracy and democratisation, cultural politics, spatial politics, urban studies, and social theory and social thought.
His most recent book is entitled Nation as Grand Narrative: The Nigerian Press and the Politics of Meaning. He is also the author of Yoruba Elites and Ethnic Politics in Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo and Corporate Agency published by Cambridge University in 2014 and Authority Stealing: Anti-corruption War and Democratic Politics in Post-Military Nigeria published by the Carolina Academic Press. The book was selected as one of the three “Best Books on Africa in 2013” by the influential US periodical, Foreign Affairs.
The newly appointed Rhodes Professor is the editor or co-editor of seven books. He has served as co-editor of Journal of Contemporary African Studies and is currently co-editor of Africa: Journal of the International African Institute.
Adebanwi, who was 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 a Rockefeller fellowship for Academic Writing Residency at its Bellagio Centre, Italy. In 2005, he was a co-winner of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation research grant.
Adebanwi, US-based Nigerian, named Rhodes Professor at Oxford University