Sunday, July 23, 2017

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos, no. 1

Well, this is THE question, what can we do. I admire toyin’s efforts at supporting the scholarship of junior african colleagues. His conference, the subsidiary conferences and conferences he has promoted over the years, give people a place to present their work and to bolster the cv. Offers to help in publication are the most important in our profession. that’s what we do: research and publish. Any help, mentoring, suggestions of where to place articles or books, etc., is probably the most valuable thing we can do to advance the careers of african academics here.
All of that work translates into supporting academics in africa as well, although the conditions are radically different. 
I also do believe supporting a publication, just to get it published, is meaningless. Supporting a publication so as to get a scholar’s work out there, is meaningful. This is a real distinction. I would hope my simple ideas of mentoring and promoting scholarship—not pro forma, not just to put it on a cv or get promoted—but to join in the scholarly discussions we all try to share, that is what we should be doing. In large, like toyin, or in small, like reading a junior colleagues work and offering criticism. Not just to get it published, but to get it up to speed, to get it interesting. To believe in the value of the work, and to make it meaningful.
I believe in the value of this work. If we help those entering into the profession, if we regard it as our duty, the actions should follow.

ken

Kenneth Harrow

Dept of English and Film Studies

Michigan State University

619 Red Cedar Rd

East Lansing, MI 48824

517-803-8839

harrow@msu.edu

http://www.english.msu.edu/people/faculty/kenneth-harrow/


From: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu>
Reply-To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Saturday, 22 July 2017 at 16:06
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos, no. 1

A tiny question:
What concrete things can we do? It is that concrete things that all of us must reflect upon.


Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 22, 2017, at 9:02 AM, Moses Ebe Ochonu <meochonu@gmail.com> wrote:

Beautiful pictures from a beautiful campus. However, your over-the-top positive assessment of the university based on a brief visit, while consistent with your well known ideological project of showcasing the positive side of Africa, is tantamount to what Bill Maher calls the soft bigotry of low expectation. How many of these staff you speak of are committed to research and teaching? And how is LASU exempt from the widespread problems of poor research and teaching ethics, professorial impunity, ASUU tyranny, etc? And is LASU and UNILAG not the epicenters of "sorting." Are they free from the scourge of sexual harassment and sexual transactions in exchange for grades?

I realize that you're invested in a project of not criticizing or putting down African/Nigerian institutions and colleagues. That is understandable, given your extensive collaborations in multiple African universities. Some of us do not have such entanglements and the anxieties that come with them and are, moreover, past the point of caring about people's feelings. 

A whole generation of Nigeria's young men is being shortchanged and the country's future is being damaged and we must call culpable people out and criticize those deserving of criticism. We should not whitewash the mess or offer false or exaggerated praise in a patronizing manner. We diaspora Nigerians take offense when white people do that to us; we shouldn't do that to our continental institutions. Southern Nigerian universities do marginally better than northern ones, but they are riddled with the same problems that plague others. Nigerian universities have become incestuous national cake institutions where intellectual in-breeding, nepotism, ethno-religious insularity, and academic self-cloning reign and innovative thinking and interdisciplinary works are discouraged by academics wedded to formulaic, outmoded disciplinary templates.

We will tell the truth and refuse to be complicit in the ongoing collapse of public higher education in Nigeria. We're accountable to our conscience. This accountability is superior to any affinity we may have with colleagues and institutions back home.

On Sat, Jul 22, 2017 at 6:46 AM, Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu> wrote:
In over 300 photos, I will bring to you the impressive campus of Lagos State University, Nigeria. The Departments are all well staffed, and the students are incredibly talented and energetic. The millions of African young men and women represent our future, and their abilities at imaginations and inventions are so extraordinary that we may not even know that we are witnessing a revolutionary moment. To those who speak ill of these young men and women, they should check their thinking processes.



Toyin Falola
Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin
104 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712-0220
USA
512 475 7224
512 475 7222 (fax)

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