Toyin Falola

Toyin Falola

Falola, Toyin

(History, University of Texas at Austin): Biographical Statement

I am very honored to have been nominated, and I am humbled by the trust that your vote brings. I was born and educated in Nigeria, with a life and educational experiences that combine multiple traditions and ideas. After earning my Ph.D. in History at the University of lfe in 1981, I taught in Nigeria for the rest of the decade. During that time, I also held short-term appointments in England (University of Cambridge), Canada (York University) and Lagos (the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs). Since 1991, I have been based at the University of Texas at Austin where I hold the Frances Higginbothom NaIIe Centennial Professorship. I have had the privilege of giving lectures on all continents, and I have received prestigious awards.

My major achievement at Texas has been to popularize African Studies. I have received many teaching awards from the university, including the Jean Holloway Award for Teaching Excellence in 2000, the Texas Excellence Teaching Award in 2001, and the Chancellor’s Council Outstanding Teaching Award in 2003-04. The university has made me a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, the highest award offered in Austin. Over the years, I have successfully built a distinguished graduate program in African history, and I have also helped to develop the University’s Center for African and African American Studies, which fosters interdisciplinary projects and communications concerning Africa and the African Diaspora. Additionally, I convene an annual conference in March which brings to the UT campus an average of 100 people from around the world.

I have edited several journals (e.g., ODU: A Journal of West African Studies and the Journal of African Economic History) and served on the boards of many others (e.g., Journal of African History, West African Review, and Journal of Asian and African Studies). At the moment, I am the Series Editor for the University of Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora, the Greenwood Series on Culture and Customs of Africa, and the Classic Authors of Texts and Authors on Africa for Africa World Press.

Over the past two decades, I have published many books and articles. My most recent publications include The Power of African Cultures, Nationalism and African Intellectuals, The History of Nigeria, Violence in Nigeria, and Key Events in African History. In addition, I have edited a comprehensive five volume textbook series, Africa, which is now popular across the country. My personal memoir entitled, A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt: An African Memoir will be released by the University of Michigan Press in june. Two volumes of essays have recently been published in my honor, The Transformation of Nigeria: Essays in Honor of Toyin Falola and The Foundations of Nigeria: Essays in Honor of Toyin FaIoIa. In August 2003, I was inducted into the Nigerian Academy of Letters and also nominated for the Nigerian National Order of Merit.

Toyin Falola: Statement of Candidacy

I have a strong record of working with others on boards of journals, academic organizations, and a host of other associations. I have worked in executive capacities in other associations, including serving as the General secretary of the Historical Society of Nigeria and been a member of the Joel Gregory Prize Committee for the Canadian Association of African Studies.

For many years now, it has been my privilege to contribute to the development of the ASA. For three years, I served on the National Program Committee (as Chair in 1996). This year, I am also serving as a member, responsible for the theme “Urban Spaces in Africa: Past Memories and Present Communities.”

My contributions will be to work with others to maintain the strength and stability of the ASA and move it to a higher level. Specifically, my concerns will include the following:

* To continue this tradition of service as a team player to foster issues of professionalism and the elevation of the status of Africa and those who devote their time to study it.

* To continue to pursue the goals of an interdisciplinary organization: the ASA must foster cooperation and communication across academic and geographical boundaries for the benefit of all. I have actively fostered this kind of interdisciplinary communication in various ways: the development of programs, journals, edited volumes, and productive interactions among scholars and students.

* With others, I will propose and implement a number of programs to benefit academic institutions in Africa by (a) seeking the means to enhance the reproduction of African studies (publishing, academic exchanges, donations, hosting of conferences); (b) strengthening the networks between Africa and other parts of the world (the diffusion of Africa-based knowledge, and the exposure of a new generation of scholars to other scholarly practices).

* To pursue the resources and strategies to popularize the needs and concerns of Africa in the public sphere in a way that will encourage a concerned constituency to care and respond.

If elected, I will work with others to achieve the above and other objectives, all in a manner emphasizing the values of integrity, progress and responsibility.

Copyright African Studies Association Apr 2004

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