2016 NSA Book Award

Every year, the Nigerian Studies Association give an award to the best academic book published in the previous calendar year.

The Nigerian Studies Association is pleased to announce that its 2016 book prize has been awarded to Associate Professor Saheed Aderinto of the Department of History, Western Carolina University, for a book entitled When Sex Threatened the State: Illicit Sexuality, Nationalism, and Politics in Colonial Nigeria, 1900–1958 [Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2015]. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Aderinto. His book may be accessed here.

From the publisher’s site:

Examining the intersection of sex work and the imperial project in British Nigeria.

British colonizers saw prostitution as a distinctively African form of sexual primitivity and as a problem to be solved as part of the “civilizing mission” they used to morally justify imperialism. Saheed Aderinto details the Nigerian response to imported sexuality laws and the contradictory ways both British and African reformers advocated for prohibition or regulation of prostitution. Tracing the tensions within diverse groups of colonizers and the colonized to highlight their concerns, he reveals how wrangling over prostitution camouflaged the negotiating of separate issues that threatened the social, political, and sexual ideologies of Africans and Europeans alike.

The first book-length project on sexuality in early twentieth century Nigeria, When Sex Threatened the State combines the study of a colonial demimonde with an urban history of Lagos and a look at government policy to provide a cutting-edge reappraisal of the history of Nigerian public life


Our President Reflects on the Loss of Dr. Ali Mazrui

Ali Al’Amin Mazrui died in New York on October 12, 2014 at the age of 81 years. I first met Professor Ali Mazrui at the annual Meeting of the African Studies Association in Boston Massachusetts in November 1976. This was a memorable year for me because this was my first year in the Ph.D. Program at Howard University, and secondly, this was my first time of attending the African Studies Association Annual Conference, and also the year I joined the association and I have been an active member, and attending the Annual Meeting of the Association since. When I graduated in 1980, Professor Ali Mazrui offered me my first job, where he was the Director of Department of African and African American Studies  to come and teach the Political Economy of Southern Africa in his department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He offered me the job as an Assistant Professor immediately I completed my Ph.D. Dissertation, even before I was awarded the degree. However, being away from home for too long while pursuing all my university education in America, I was very anxious to go home and teach in a Nigerian University. Thus, I did not take Professor Mazrui’s offer of appointment.
As a graduate student, and later as a member of the academia, I have met Professor Mazrui on numerous occasions and I have also been on same panel with him at the Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association on some occasions. Ali Mazrui has written forty books, numerous Journal articles and hundreds of conference papers, but one of his books that have most impressions on me is The African Condition: A Political Diagnosis. This book came out of his 1979 BBC Reith Lectures. The book is about location in space and allocation in African society. It is concerned with Africa’s physical position on the world stage in relations to issues of economic distributions and social justice.
Professor Mazrui contributed a chapter to my latest edited book, AFRICA: The State of the Continent Fifty Years after the Liberation (2014). His chapter- “Half A Century of Pro-Democracy Uprising in Africa’s Experience: From Sharpeville to Benghazi.” In this chapter Mazrui deals with African struggle for liberation, and Democratic governance. Beginning from colonial rule, struggle against racial minority rule, the Sharpeville uprising in South Africa in 1960. The North Africa uprising through the Benghazi uprising that led to the assassination of Muamma Gaddafi of Libya in October 2011.
Professor Ali Mazrui was a Great Pan-Africanist. He was always kind and gracious. He was one of the brightest minds to ever come out of the African continent. He was always bubbling with new ideas all the time he was on the stage. Although he was born in Mombasa, Kenya, he was a global scholar. Intellectually his influence is immeasurable, and he was rated as one of 100 influential global scholars of the twentieth century.
Professor Mazrui, your light will shine brighter with each new day and night. And may your soul rest in perfect peace.
~ Layi Abegunrin


The Nigerian Studies Association’s Statement on the Chibok Kidnapping Crisis (#bringbackourgirls)

The Nigerian Studies Association condemns the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls on April 14, 2014 and the lethargic, unfocused response of the Nigerian government to the nation’s demand for their return. We stand in solidarity with the missing girls, first and foremost, their traumatized families and communities, and with the people of conscience in Nigeria and around the world to demand decisive action by the federal government of Nigeria to Bring Our Girls Back. We also denounce the recent killings in the Chibok area and the bombings in Nyanya and Jos.

This on-going crisis must be understood in the context of a systemic failure of governance and the structural poverty that have gripped the nation for several generations, beginning most strikingly in the Structural Adjustment era and resulting in the divestment of the education sector, rural development, power generation, and public security. Such failures have produced large-scale insecurity, encouraging such groups as Boko Haram to flourish. Young people, the group most deeply affected by this history of deprivation, are most likely to join such groups as Boko Haram due to their disaffection and lack of opportunity. We must use the global scrutiny generated by the Chibok kidnapping crisis as an opportunity to honestly assess these systemic problems and hold the Nigerian government accountable to its citizenry.

Nigeria is a country that is blessed with innumerable resources, the most important of which are its human resources. All over the world, Nigerians are known as leaders in scholarship, the sciences, and the arts. Nigerians are recognized and valued for their intelligence, creativity, and optimism. Yet, the government response to the abduction of the Chibok girls, just like its earlier response to the fuel hike protests of 2011/2012, demonstrates that our government does not appreciate or value its own people, nor does it respond to their needs effectively. Soldiers would be willing to die for a country that takes care of them and their children; citizens would be willing to remain in the country to contribute to its development if they are ensured a sense of security and recognition for their contributions; workers would work hard for a country that compensates that work based on merit rather than on a system of patronage and clientelism; citizens would be willing to pay tolls and taxes if they could rely on their government to invest in infrastructure and provide basic social and civil services.

We call for the rescue of the Chibok girls and for the fundamental transformation of Nigeria into a nation where all citizens, regardless of class, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, sexuality, place of origin, or educational attainment can enjoy equal rights to peace, justice, and well being before the law. The Nigerian government should take as its first and constant priority the maximization of the security, progress, and well being of its people. This is a game changing moment; all Nigerians need to keep applying pressure on our government and demand better of its public servants. The first step to a new Nigeria is to Bring Back Our Girls!