J.A. Atanda Memorial Lecture welcomes Toyin Falola

The Second Annual J.A. Atanda Memorial Lecture


Toyin Falola

The Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities & University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas

 “Indirect Rule and the Elasticity of Politics and Power”

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 from 6:30-8:00PM

International House (1414 East 59th Street)

In addition to Professor Falola, we are delighted to welcome additional speakers His Excellency Professor Adebowale Adefuye (the Ambassador of Nigeria to the United States), Dr. Olufunmilayo Falusi Olopade (The Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago), Professor Ralph Austen (Professor Emeritus of African History at the University of Chicago), and Mr. Tolulope Atanda (The Tonda Foundation).

About Toyin Falola

Toyin Falola, Ph.D., is the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of numerous books and essays on African history generally, as well as on Nigerian history in particular. He also serves as the Series Editor of Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora; Series Editor of the Culture and Customs of Africa by Greenwood Press; Series Editor of Classic Authors and Texts on Africa by Africa World Press; and Series Editor of Carolina Studies on Africa and the Black World.

At the University of Texas, Professor Falola has received various awards and honors including the Jean Holloway Award for Teaching Excellence, The Texas Exes Teaching Award, the Chancellor’s Council Outstanding Teaching Award, Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, and the Career Research Excellence Award. Currently, Professor Falola is the Chair of the ASA Herskovits Prize for the best book on Africa, the chair of the Martin Klein Book prize for the best book on African history, and the Joel Gregory Prize for the Canadian Association of African Studies. He is the current Vice President of the International Scientific Committee for the UNESCO Slave Route Project and, as of November, 2014, the Vice President of the African Studies Association.

Professor Falola’s research has won many accolades, including the Nigerian Diaspora Academic Prize, the Felix E. Udogu Africa Award, the Cheikh Anta Diop Award, the Amistad Award, the SIRAS Award for Outstanding Contribution to African Studies, and the Africana Studies Distinguished Global Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award. Professor Falola is also a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, Fellow of the Historical Society of Nigeria, and a recipient of the African Studies Association’s Distinguished Africanist Award. He has received honorary doctorates from Monmouth University, City University of New York, Lead City University, and Adekunle Ajasin University. His memoir, A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt, captures his childhood in Nigeria and has received various awards. For his distinguished contribution to the study of Africa, his students and colleagues have published five different edited volumes in his honor.

About Professor Joseph Adebowale Atanda (1932-1996)

Professor Atanda received his BA from the University of London and his PhD from the University of Ibadan, an institution that remained the base of his academic career until his retirement in 1991. His first book, The New Oyo Empire: Indirect Rule and Change in Western Nigeria, 1894- 1934 (1973), which focuses on the colonial history of his native Oyo state, drew wide critical appraisal and established him as one of the leading Africanists of his generation. He also published three other volumes on Western Nigerian history: Travels and Exploration in Yorubaland, 1854- 1858 by W.H. Clarke (1972), An Introduction to Yoruba History (1980), and Baptist Churches in Nigeria: Accounts of their Foundation and Growth, 1850- 1950 (1988).  His many articles and book chapters include the results of research he carried out on another part of the continent, Buganda in East Africa.  This last work reflects Professor Atanda’s role as an exchange professor outside Nigeria at Makerere University in Uganda (1969) and the University of Chicago (1969-70). After he retired from the University of Ibadan, Atanda also spent time at the University College of Belize, Central America (1991-94). Professor  Atanda’s contributions as both a scholar and teacher are celebrated in the festschrift published after his death by his former students: G.O Oguntomisin and  Simon Ademola Ajayi Readings in Nigerian History and Culture (Essays in Memory of Professor J.A Atanda) (2002).

Apart from his university functions, Professor Atanda took an active part in public, community and church service. At various times between 1972 and 1984 he served the Oyo and Western states of Nigeria as Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Commissioner for Health, Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development, Chairman of the Management Committee of the Ibarapa Local Council, Chairman of the Ibadan Zonal Health Board, and as a member of the Western State Health Council and National Census Sub-Committee on Historical Events. He was also a member and Chair of the Board of Governors of the Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso. During his career Professor Atanda received numerous awards and fellowships, and in 1974 he initiated the Omoyisola Atanda Memorial Prize in History in memory of his late wife.

The Atanda Family

Throughout his life, Professor Atanda served as a passionate advocate for education at all levels.  His children claim that the only inheritance he passed on to them was his faith in God, the education he sacrificed to give them, a commitment to academic achievement, and his books. His family greatly values these timeless and invaluable legacies.

Inspired by the award that Professor Atanda created to honor his wife, the family established the Joseph Adebowale Atanda  Memorial Prize in History after his death in 2006.  These annual cash prizes are granted to the best graduating female and male undergraduate students of the History Department at the University of  Ibadan. In 2011, the family founded the Tonda Foundation, which is the main sponsor of the Atanda lecture series. In addition, members of the Atanda family have created two fellowships at the University of Chicago.

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