STREAM: African Historiography, Vernacular Epistemology, and the Invention of An Archive in Toyin Falola’s Scholarship

STREAM: African Historiography, Vernacular Epistemology, and the Invention of An Archive in Toyin Falola’s Scholarship

In the transformations of African historiography in the last four decades, Toyin Falola has been an active participant as well as an inspiration for other scholars. Falola’s place within African historiography is unique due to variations of thematic focus, innovative methodological approaches, and the scope and scale of analysis. Considering the vast scope and scale of Falola’s oeuvre, this stream invites scholars to reflect upon three broad themes: African historiography, Vernacular epistemology, and the archive.

Falola’s scholarship is characterized by multiple modes of historical investigation, which offers complexities to the conventional models of “Afrocentric” histories. So we expect panelists to reflect upon at least two key aspects of Falola’s scholarship. Firstly, in what ways, Falola’s work appropriates, problematizes, and contests the non-African philosophies of history? Secondly, how the multiplicities of Africa’s past, as represented in Falola’s work, constitute a discursive formation toward non-essentialist reading of African history? The second key focus of this stream is history in the vernacular as Toyin Falola’s craftsmanship in this terrain remains unparalleled. We hope scholars focusing on this theme would be able to closely engage with Falola’s work as an exercise in intellectual history. We invite scholars to think through Falola’s methods as well as his interpretations of vernacular cultural formations in Africa to explore the semantic wealth of the term vernacular, and further extrapolate its significance in relation to emerging strands in African historiography. The third focus of this stream is the archive. Falola’s innovative ways of interpreting African cultural forms and ritual practices have led to the invention of a new archive unraveling the past. Within the scope of this thematic focus we invite scholars to reflect upon Falola’s scholarship on the Yoruba, history of Nigeria, and African modernity. Furthermore, to engage closely with Falola’s art of inventing the archive, we expect scholars to think comparatively on historical methodology so that Toyin Falola’s place within the discipline of history can be evaluated from a global perspective.

Confirmed Panels

Toyin Falola and Africa Historiography: A Creative Praxis

This panel highlights the various dimensions of Toyin Falola’s scholarship in relation to its various constitutive element. The panelists will map the different shifts that have occurred in Falola’s scholarship with time. The core objective of the panel is to locate Toyin Falola’s scholarship in the broader context of African historiography and global intellectual history. It brings together various themes such as Falola’s critique of African nationalist historiography, his analysis of African diasporic social formations, the interphases of Falola’s work with postcolonial theory, pedagogic practices in the academia, the imperatives of interdisciplinary scholarship in African studies, and postcolonial Africa’s development paradigm. As each panelist will highlight specific aspects of Falola’s work, the emphasis will be on exploring his scholarship as a creative praxis within the academia. It will, in other words, evaluate the activist dimension of Toyin Falola’s work towards new epistemic formations in the postcolonial African context.

  • An Age of Africanist Renaissance: Transformation of the Historical Discipline in Nigeria and Toyin Falola’s Scholarship, Uyi Emmanuel Osayande (University of Lagos, Nigeria) 
  • Postcolonial African Historiography and Toyin Falola’s Place in It, Abikal Borah (University Of Texas at Austin, United States) 
  • “Ritual Archives” and OERs: Digital Humanities, Pedagogy, and African Studies, Danielle Sanchez (Muhlenberg College, United States) 
  • Thoughts on Toyin Falola’s Intervention on Subaltern Epistemologies, African Diaspora, and Nationalism, Chukwuemeka Agbo (The University of Texas at Austin, United States)
  • African ‘Historians, Are Archaeologists Your Siblings?’: Evaluating Toyin Falola’s Contribution to the Archaeology of Africa and the African Diaspora, Benjamin Nutor (The University of Texas at Austin, United States)
  • Can Regional Integration bring socio-economic development?: Linking the past to the future of integration in West Africa, Samuel Ojo Oloruntoba (University of South Africa, South Africa)


Toyin Falola and the Historiography of Women in Africa and the African Diaspora

Panel Convener: Olajumoke Yacob-Haliso, Babcock University, Nigeria (

How does history and historiography situate the African woman? What are the changing trajectories and dynamics of gender in African history and African studies scholarship? How do history, gender, sexuality and feminist politics intersect historical and political analyses on Africa and the African diaspora? In what ways can African scholars advance an agenda that appropriately inscribes African women’s presence, roles, issues, challenges, contributions and legacies in the annals of history and politics? What theoretical insights can be generated on the historicity of gender relations and gender perspectives in Africa and the African diaspora?

This panel seeks to explore the variegated dimensions of these questions, taking Toyin Falola’s works as springboard for possibilities in situating African gender and women studies within the broad dynamics of history, historiography, and the study of Africa in this direction. As his scholarship has spanned the breadth of the African experience, Toyin Falola has provided pathways for addressing these questions in creative and challenging ways that lead to the evolution of genuine and multifaceted scholarly avenues for rethinking the historiography of women in Africa and the African diaspora – from deliberate inclusion strategies (books about women, power and gender), foregrounding marginalised subjects (such as African gender and sexualities), personal reflections (as in his memoirs) to reinterpretations of women’s history (as in his Efunsetan Aniwura essay, for example).

This panel addresses the above central questions from various disciplinary backgrounds; with reference to broad or specific topics; displaces or replaces gender categories; questions narratives, methodologies, and epistemologies; and accomplishes these either directly or indirectly in relation to Professor Toyin Falola’s oeuvre, outstanding in its contributions to history and historiography specifically, but also equally landmark in the interdisciplinarity of its scope.


  • Toyin Falola’s Scholarship on African Women and Gender: Conceptualizations at the Intersection of African and Feminist Epistemologies, Bridget Teboh ( The University of Massachusetts- Dartmouth, USA)
  • The Politics of Polygyny and Subjectivity in Falola’s A Mouth Sweeter than Salt, Mobolanle Sotunsa (Babcock University, Nigeria)
  • Beyond the Proscription of History and the Futility of ‘Feminist Talk’: Merging the Scholarship of Narrative Politics and Cinematic Frames in Gendered Excavations of the African Past, Peyi Soyinka-Airewele (Ithaca College, USA) 
  • African and African American women in conversation, Nemata Blyden ( George Washington University, USA)
  • Toyin Falola and the Pathologies and Pathways for African Feminist Scholarship, Olajumoke Yacob-Haliso (Babcock University, Nigeria) 
  • Dynamics of Female Gender Survival Strategies in Contemporary African Novels, Adam, Ezinwanyi (Babcock University, Nigeria) 


If you have any queries or suggestions please contact Abikal Borah ( and Timothy Stapleton ( 

For panel and paper submissions please follow the instructions on the website 

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