ANNUAL CONFERENCE RATIONALE
In pursuance of its mandate which includes the promotion of excellence in cultural studies, the Ibadan Cultural Studies Group, Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, is pleased to announce theToyin Falola Annual International Conference on Africa and the African Diaspora. This conference will provide an international forum where scholars, researchers, graduate students, and technocrats from all over the world will converge, annually, every first week in July, to address cultural issues that relate to Africa and the Diaspora in the strict academic tradition, with a view to exploring possible collaboration on matters of culture and global peace. It is a global forum that is designed to engage minds for ideation, intellection and distillation in culture discourses for advancing the cause of Africa and the Globe.
The conference is so named as an enduring legacy in honour of Professor Toyin Falola of the University of Texas at Austin, USA., in recognition of his tremendous achievements as a scholar and teacher of African and African American History.
Dr. Toyin Falola is the Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, a creative writer, a foremost academic icon and certainly, the most celebrated published African/Black scholar of all times. At the tenth Africa Conference that was held late last March, 2010, at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Falola’s significant milestone of having published more than a hundred books on numerous core topics about Africa, African nations and the globe, were celebrated by more than six hundred participants. Additionally, thousands of teaming admirers and well wishers joined in the celebration of this phenomenon, an enigma, one of Nigeria’s, nay Africa’s rare gifts to the world, on the internet. Two books were presented at the event to mark the great occasion, The Long Arm of Africa: The Prodigious Career of Toyin Falola (180pp), which contains the summary of each of Dr. Falola’s 100+ published books co-edited by Vik Bahl and Falola’s daughter, Bisola, and Toyin Falola: the Man, The Mask, The Muse, a 1015 page-festschrift edited by Niyi Afolabi. This unique festschrift includes contributions from 48 top scholars as well as a prologue.
In addition to several laurels he has gathered over the years from leading academic institutions around the globe in acknowledgment of his immense contributions to scholarship, especially in African and African American studies, on Saturday evening of October 31, 2009, Dr. Falola was presented with the prestigious Africana Studies Distinguished Global Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award by Chancellor Charles Bantz of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis at the Awards Dinner for the 1st Public Scholars in Africana Studies International Conference on Globalization held in Indianapolis. The occasion was witnessed by hundreds of participants. The organizers of the Award had this to say on the selection of Dr. Falola for this significant award:
The presentation of the Africana Studies Distinguished Global Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award represents our best efforts to recognize an individual who can more accurately be described as the "quintessential ‘scholar's scholar,’" i.e., a person whose lifetime has been exemplified by the relentless search for knowledge in all of its various facets and whose total body of scholarship through the years has been considered by his/her peers to be of the highest level of excellence. We wanted to recognize a scholar who has developed a stellar global reputation because of the significant impacts his/her scholarship has had on the global academy and who has used his/her platform unselfishly to elevate others, particularly students, professional colleagues, and members of the public at large. We also wanted to recognize a scholar whose academic research has had transformative effects on the various global epistemological debates which have preoccupied scholars in his/her disciplinary area of focus through the years and whose work has provided an important platform for the development of an ongoing critical discourse with regard to the continuing relevancy of understanding and respecting African people, cultures, and ideologies, both in the past and contemporary time periods ... The academic world has run out of superlatives to describe the magnificent body of scholarship produced through the years by the indefatigable, Dr. Toyin Falola.
Dr Toyin Falola has also distinguished himself as a teacher par excellence. For example, besides being the Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor and Distinguished Teaching Professor of History, he was the recipient of the much coveted 2010 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award at the University of Texas at Austin and inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers as a result of the recognition he received from his colleagues and students for his tremendous skills in classroom teaching, contributions to his graduate students, his mentoring, and outstanding skills in supervising numerous theses, reports, and dissertations.
Therefore, an annual conference of the magnitude that is intended here as African and Diaspora scholars, and friends of Africa, is the least we can put in place to sustain and ensure the continuity of what Professor Toyin Falola’s live for, labour for and copiously written about in his 119 published books (at the last count four months ago)- the promotion of excellence in Africa and the Diaspora scholarship.
(c) 2013 Ibadan Cultural Studies Group, University of Ibadan