The University of Oxford has appointed Nigerian Wale Adebanwi to its Rhodes Professorship in Race Relations at the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies. He becomes the first black scholar to occupy the position since its creation over 60 years ago.
Adebanwi, who has a long career in journalism and the academia, will be the next Director of the African Studies Centre at Oxford. The 47-year-old takes over from Professor William Beinart, who retired from the position in 2015.
The Rhodes Professorship is named after Cecil Rhodes, a British industrialist who was prime minister of South Africa’s Cape colony in the late 19th century.
Adebanwi is currently Professor at the University of California, Davis. He has also been a Bill and Melinda Gates Scholar at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. As an academic and literary critic, he has authored and edited 10 books and written several articles in journals of Social Science and Humanities and is presently editor of the journal, Africa: Journal of the International African Institute.
Adebanwi’s forays into the world of scholarship followed a period in which he served as writer, public affairs journalist and editor with several newspapers and magazines. He wrote for TheNews, a magazine which was a front for the struggle against military rule in Nigeria. He later became a lecturer at the Department of Political Science in the University of Ibadan.