Nigeria, Nationalism, and Writing History

January 2011
350 pages
ISBN: 9781580463584
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC HIS001000, HIS016000, HIS037000

Nigeria, Nationalism, and Writing History

Toyin Falola, Saheed Aderinto

The book traces the history of writing about Nigeria since the nineteenth century, with an emphasis on the rise of nationalist historiography and the leading themes.
The second half of the twentieth century saw the publication of massive amounts of literature on Nigeria by Nigerian and non-Nigerian historians. This volume reflects on that literature, focusing on those works by Nigerians in the context of the rise and decline of African nationalist historiography. Given the diminishing share in the global output of literature on Africa by African historians, it has become crucial to reintroduce Africans into historical writing about Africa. As the authors attempt here to rescue older voices, they also rehabilitate a stale historiography by revisiting the issues, ideas, and moments that produced it. This revivalism also challenges Nigerian historians of the twenty-first century to study the nation in new ways, to comprehend its modernity, and to frame a new set of questions on Nigeria's future and globalization.
In spite of current problems in Nigeria and its universities, that historical scholarship on Nigeria (and by extension, Africa) has come of age is indisputable. From a country that struggled for Western academic recognition in the 1950s to one that by the 1980s had emerged as one of the most studied countries in Africa, Nigeria is not only one of the early birthplaces of modern African history, but has also produced members of the first generation of African historians whose contributions to the development and expansion of modern African history is undeniable. Like their counterparts working on other parts of the world, these scholars have been sensitive to the need to explore virtually all aspects of Nigerian history. The book highlights the careers of some of Nigeria's notable historians of the first and second generation.

Toyin Falola is Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
Saheed Aderinto is Assistant Professor of History at Western Carolina University.

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Keywords: African Studies


A highly detailed and rich survey of the complex web of tradions that have played a hand in shaping how Nigerians think about and write about their past. H-AFRICA

A must-read for students and teachers of Nigerian history and anyone who is interested in Nigerian, and indeed African historiography. AFRICAN STUDIES QUARTERLY

Falola and Aderinto's work on the lives and works of these nationalist historians constitutes another chapter in the long history of cultural innovation in Nigeria, as African intellectuals continue to seek out and exploit new opportunities for empowering and enriching their communities. --Lynn Schler, Ben Gurion University

[A] successful attempt to map the Nigerian historical historiography since the middle of the twentieth century...for historians of Nigeria, this volume can be become an excellent tool as it can help them assess the political and historiographical debates underpinning the publication of Nigerian historical studies. --Vincent Hiribarren, Leeds African Studies Bulletin

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