University of Texas, Austin
Toyin Falola, History, University of Texas, Austin
I am the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. My primary research interest focuses on African history since the nineteenth century, with a concentration on Nigeria. I have published many books, and won various awards including the Cecil B. Currey Book Award for Economic Reforms and Modernization in Nigeria, a Herskovits finalist citation for my memoir A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt, the Nigerian Studies Association’s Best Book Award for Colonialism and Violence in Nigeria, and a Conover-Porter Finalist Certificate for Key Events in African History: A Reference Guide.
The cumulative contributions of my research and teaching have led to five festschriften in my honor and a bio-critical work. An annual conference is named after me, held in rotation in different African universities. The Association of Third World Studies has named its best book prize after me. I have also received three honorary doctorates and over twenty lifetime career awards.
My devotion to Africa is also about service and opening opportunities for others to engage Africa holistically. As the Series Editor of the Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora, Series Editor of the Culture and Customs of Africa by Greenwood Press, Series Editor of Studies on Africa and the Black World by Carolina Academic Press, and Convener of the annual Africa Conference at UT Austin, I have had unique opportunities to generate platforms for dialogue on issues relating to Africa. I am also the Chair for the AHA’s Martin A. Klein Prize in African History, a committee member for the Joel Gregory Prize (Canadian Association of African Studies), the Vice President of the International Scientific Committee, UNESCO Slave Route Project, and a member of the Scholars Council of the Library of Congress.
I have been part of the ASA for upwards of three decades. I have served in various capacities: as a member of the Board of Directors; as the Chair of the Programs Committee, and twice as a member of that committee; and as a member and Chair of the Herskovits committee. I have equally been part of the management of various other academic associations since 1981, as a founding member of the Ife Humanities Society, the President of the Nigerian Studies Association, and the General Secretary of the Historical Society of Nigeria.
I will bring these experiences with me if I am elected as the Vice President. The ASA has done an excellent job of improving diversity in its structure; providing recognition for significant scholarship; providing funding, publication opportunities, and conference platforms; and embracing all those who are interested in Africa and Black people around the world. Still, there remains more work to be done! Current economic uncertainties require that we rededicate ourselves to promoting African Studies as a core area of knowledge in the classroom and various outreach activities. I will work to expand the association’s cooperation with organizations within and outside Africa that support Africa-related issues. This will bring in more resources to help our members in research, teaching, and advocacy. Likewise, it is important that we strengthen the links between African and U.S. universities to promote the sharing of research and teaching resources and to help particularly to help young African scholars take advantage of the research and teaching innovations in the United States. I believe I can bridge various divides and foster further cooperation. We must continue to search for and bring in funding opportunities for the ASA for sustainability, especially in these uncertain economic times.