First academic study of Yoruba elite

  • March 28, 2014
First academic study of Yoruba elite

Gates Cambridge alumnus Wale Adebanwi is author of the first scholarly book on one of Africa’s most powerful and progressive elites, the Yoruba.

A Gates Cambridge alumnus is to publish the first scholarly book on one of Africa’s most powerful and progressive elites, the Yoruba.

Wale Adebanwi [2003], who did a PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge supported by a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, is author of Yoruba elites and ethnic politics in Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo and corporate agency*, which will be published in April by Cambridge University Press.

The book, which is based on his PhD thesis, investigates the dynamics and challenges of ethnicity and elite politics in Nigeria, Africa’s largest democracy. Wale Adebanwi, who is currently an associate professor in the African American and African Studies Programme of the University of California-Davis, USA, says the book demonstrates how the corporate agency of the elite transformed the modern history and politics of one of Africa’s largest ethnic groups, the Yoruba.

The book is organised around the ideas and cultural representations of Obafemi Awolowo, who is seen as the central signifier of modern Yoruban culture. Through analysis of issues such as political party and ethnic group organisation, cultural politics, democratic struggle, personal ambitions, group solidarity, death, memory and commemoration, the book examines the foundations of  the legitimacy of the Yoruba political elite.

Using historical sociology and ethnographic research, Adebanwi traces the internal and external struggles for power of what is considered one of the most powerful and progressive elite groups in Africa. The book is described as the first authoritative scholarly book on the Yoruba.

His publisher states: “It combines both the perspectives and disciplinary methods of anthropology, historical sociology and political science in examining how Obafemi Awolowo and the groups and political parties he created and those that were created in his name after his death re-made Yorùbá history in modern times.”

*Cambridge University Press, New York, 2014, pp. 320. ISBN: 9781107054226

Latest News

Tracing the origins of our political beliefs

What makes some people more vulnerable to extremism than others? How do we build cognitive resilience against extreme ideologies? And how does the brain react to misinformation on social media? These are some of the key political questions that political neuroscientist Leor Zmigrod [2016] is exploring, putting the science into our understanding of radicalisation.   Leor […]

A leading woman in STEAM

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has been selected as one of the 75 leading women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics in India. Yama Dixit will feature in the second edition of the book She Is, published by the Red Dot Foundation in partnership with the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India to mark 75 […]

Tackling the obesity epidemic in Africa

When she left school, Paula-Peace James-Okoro [2022] intended to become a medical doctor, but after starting a degree in Biochemistry she discovered a passion for the subject and for using it to address one of the major health challenges facing Africa – obesity. She says: “In Africa, the rates of metabolic diseases, like obesity and […]

Triple win for Bill Gates Sr. Prize

For the first time three Gates Cambridge Scholars are sharing this year’s Bill Gates Sr. Prize in recognition of their outstanding research and social leadership. Kim van Daalen, Reetika Subramanian and Cynthia Okoye have been selected for the prize which was established by the Gates Cambridge Trustees in June 2012 in recognition of the late […]