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Body announces prize for best essay on Yoruba

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Joseph Adebowale Atanda

The Yoruba Studies Review has decided to celebrate and honour Joseph Adebowale Atanda with the J.A. Atanda Prize for the Best Essay on Yoruba. A passionate historian, Atanda dedicated his scholarship to the historiography of Africa, especially that of the Yoruba. Popular among his publications, are The New Oyo Empire: Indirect Rule and Change in Western Nigeria, 1894-1934 and An Introduction to Yoruba History and Baptist Churches in Nigeria: Accounts of Their Foundation and Growth.

According to a statement from the review group, “the robust contributions of Atanda to Yoruba Studies have enhanced the existing knowledge of the people’s history, culture and spirituality, as well as the colonial and postcolonial relation. More than two decades after his demise, his scholarship remains relevant and more increasingly so.”

In doing so, the group wants to promote and preserve the legacy Atanda embodied. “The objective is to promote and revive the socio-cultural and religious significance of the Yoruba, and as a result, contribute to the stream of revivalist efforts geared towards the resuscitation of the African spirit. For it is in the history, language, culture and worldview that the spirit flourishes.”

The prize, which is worth $500, represents a solid and remarkable platform for the promotion and further development of Yoruba studies.

While all submissions are acceptable in English, “we especially encourage essays written in Yoruba. We also welcome translation of essays on the Yoruba, but the prize would be shared between the translator and original writer (if still alive),” said the administrators of the prize

“Where an unpublished essay receives the prize, the entrant gives the exclusive right to edit and publish the work upon selection for longlist in Yoruba Studies Review.”

The editors will choose the best essays according to a set of guidelines covering data quality, originality and contributions to knowledge.

They will also constitute a jury for each year.

The short-listed essays will be sent to members of the jury for final determination of the winner. This year’s jury include Professor Akinloye Ojo, University of Georgia (Chair), Professor Segun Ogungbemi, independent scholar, Dr. Bose Afolayan, University of Lagos and Kaosarat Aina, University of Ibadan (Secretary).

Preliminary evaluation started on January 1 and will end April 15. This will be followed by announcement of the longlist in July, shortlist announcement: follows in September, while the winner: will be made known in October. 2020

Only the essays published (or to be published) in Yoruba Studies Review qualify for this award.


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Joseph Adebowale Atanda
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