Tuesday, August 8, 2017

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Dr. Gloria Chuku: 2017 Ali Mazrui Award

The TOFAC Board of Directors is pleased to confer the

Ali Mazrui Award for Scholarship and Research Excellence



Professor and Chair, Africana Studies, University of Maryland, Baltimore Co. USA

July 4, 2017, Adeyemi College of Education





Gloria Chuku is a historian with over 25 years of teaching and research experience. She is Professor and Chair of Africana Studies, and Affiliate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies, and Language, Literacy and 

Culture Ph.D. Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA. She serves on the governing/advisory body of three departments/programs at UMBC: Language, Literacy, and Culture PhD Program; Genderand 

Women's Studies Department; and Global Studies Program; as well as on the Executive Committee of the University System of Maryland Women's Forum.


As a scholar and teacher, Dr. Chuku's record has demonstrated a strong commitment to solid and sustained scholarship, student-centered effective teaching and diligent service. Her scholarship, teaching, and service complement one another in advancing diverse global African-centered perspectives, interdisciplinarity, critical pedagogical and analytical skills, knowledge production, and service to the community and the profession.


Significant Scholarship Achievements


Professor Chuku's scholarship over the years has focused largely on the history and culture of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria, one of the largest ethnic groups in the country with an estimated population of over 30 million in 1991; and on nationalism and Igbo intellectual traditions; Nigerian history; and gender, entrepreneurship, decolonization, and nation-building in Nigeria and Africa. She has published extensively in these areas, including a monograph: Igbo Women and Economic Transformation in Southeastern Nigeria, 1900-1960 (Routledge, 2005); two edited volumes: The Igbo Intellectual Tradition: Creative Conflict in African and African Diasporic Thought (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013); Ethnicities, Nationalities, and Cross-Cultural Representations in Africa and the Diaspora (Carolina Academic Press, 2015); and over 50 scholarly articles, including refereed journal articles, book chapters, encyclopedia entries and articles in newspapers. She has secured a contract for her fourth book, in discussion with a university press about the fifth book, and preparing her sixth book, all of which are single-authored monographs. She has three additional book chapters accepted for publication in 2017-18.


Dr. Chuku's research and publications are noted for their originality, innovative and sound methodology, critical and in-depth analysis, as well as for their relevance and contribution toward expanding the frontiers of knowledge in gender and cultural studies, and in Nigerian and African historiographies. They are a demonstration of a robust, active, and innovative scholarly agenda, and an evidence of a sustained broad scholarly productivity that focus on the intersections of gender, cultural, social, economic, political and religious history, grounded in nuanced interdisciplinary approach and critical analysis. Her attention to historical contexts and how critical cultural ideas are situated within specific historical moments, as well as her informed belief that multiple global and political currents are part of the modernizing pressures that have shaped historical experiences and current realities in Nigeria and Africa are commendable. Her scholarship covers a wide geographical terrain that stretches from Igbo society to Nigeria, and Africa to Europe and America, and has demonstrated a conscious effort in navigating sensitive terrains of gender, cultural, ethnic, and religious differences and the contours of their intersectionality. As a scholar and researcher, Chuku not only writes broadly and critically, but has also exhibited scholarly courage. It is important to note that some of her publications are used in departments of History, and African and African American Studies undergraduate and graduate programs at such institutions as Rutgers University, University of California at Berkeley, the Ohio State University, Cornell University and others; as well as in universities in such African countries as Nigeria, Cameroon, and South Africa; in Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and South Korea. She has demonstrated leadership and international reputation for scholarly activities measured by peers in the field of African History.


A review of samples of her publications will suffice here:


Her first book, Igbo Women and Economic Transformation in Southeastern Nigeria, 1900-1960, (Routledge, 2005, with a paperback in 2013), remains to date the most comprehensive study on Igbo women, covering all the Igbo subculture zones. It is the first systematic study of Igbo women and their economic activities in southeastern Nigeria, from the eve of British colonial rule in 1900 to Nigeria's independence in 1960.  The book has also received rave reviews which describe it as "competent scholarship," "thorough research," "well-written and solidly researched," a compelling "narrative rich in textual meaning," "offering a broader scope than many previous studies on gender and the economy in south-eastern Nigeria," and "an outstanding examination of women in resistance movements."


Dr. Chuku's second book is The Igbo Intellectual Tradition: Creative Conflict in African and African Diasporic Thought (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), an edited book for which she wrote six of the eleven chapters of the book plus an extensive Introduction.  The book is a major contribution to Igbo, African and African Diasporic studies. Its uniqueness and novelty lie in the fact that it is the only existing work in which the activisms and intellectual contributions of eleven Igbo scholars that spanned over three centuries and across national and continental boundaries are presented in a single academic volume.


Chuku's third book is Ethnicities, Nationalities, and Cross-Cultural Representations in Africa and the Diaspora (2015). She is in the process of completing her fourth book, Nigeria: A History of the People and their Culture, which is under contract with a UK-based publisher.  The book explores the cultural history of Nigeria dating back to about 9000 BCE. While finishing the book on Nigeria, Chuku is also continuing work on her fifth one, Confronting the Silences: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Biafra-Nigeria War, which focuses on the intersection of ethnic and gender identities and politics in the conflict. Her sixth book, Mbonu Ojike of Nigeria: The King of Boycottables and African Nationalist (in preparation) is a biographical monograph in which she uses Mbonu Ojike of Nigeria to demonstrate the struggle by African intellectuals to decolonize the African mind and the production of knowledge of Africa and its representation.


Dr Chuku has published numerous articles in highly respected journals, including The Journal of African American History, the International Journal of African Historical Studies, amongst others. Her book chapters have appeared in volumes edited by reputable scholars including Igbo in the Atlantic World: African Origins and Diasporic Destinations, edited by Toyin Falola and Raphael Njoku (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2016), Gendering the African Diaspora: Women, Culture, and Historical Change in the Caribbean and Nigerian Hinterland, edited by Judith Byfield, LaRay Denzer, and Anthea Morrison (Indiana University Press, 2010), and Power and Nationalism in Modern Africa edited by Toyin Falola and Salah Hassan (Carolina Academic Press, 2008).


Additionally, Dr Chuku has sixteen encyclopedia entries, has presented over 50 juried papers at international conferences, and given over 40 invited talks at seminars and colloquia, some of which were keynote papers. She has also organized, chaired and moderated numerous conference panels and roundtables. Dr. Chuku has to her credit a number of media appearances and newspaper interviews, including live appearance on Channels Television, Nigeria (2016) and interviews by The Greenville News and The Magician.


Dr. Chuku is the recipient of a number of prestigious fellowships from a variety of funding agencies, including the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Grant; West African Research Association Post-Doctoral Fellowship; Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA); Pennsylvania System of Higher Education Faculty Professional Development Grant; as well as the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) CAHSS Dean's Research Fund, Sabbatical Leave, CAHSS Research Fellowship, the Dresher Center for the Humanities Summer Faculty Fellowship, and the Summer Faculty Fellowship.


Dr. Chuku's reputation as a well-grounded researcher/scholar and her passion for service and activism have earned her leadership roles in some top professional organizations. Currently, she serves as chair of the Advisory Board of the Igbo Studies Association (ISA), and she has served as its Treasurer. She was the vice president and president of the Nigerian Studies Association (NSA). For three years, she chaired the NSA Book Prize Committee, within which period the committee reviewed close to 40 scholarly books.


Her expertise has been sought after by editors of prominent academic journals, such as the Journal of African History, International Journal of African Historical Studies, African Studies Review, Canadian Journal of African Studies, Journal of the Historical Society, Feminist Formations, and Ofo, as well as by book publishers, including Oxford University Press, University of Rochester Press, University of Illinois Press, Palgrave Macmillan, and Rowan and Littlefield, for whom she has assessed manuscripts. She serves on the Editorial Boards of two academic journals: Journal of Nigerian Studies and Lagos Historical Review (University of Lagos, Nigeria); and two book series: Taylor and Francis Book Series on Global Africa, and Lexington Book's African Governance and Development Series. She has served as grant proposal reviewer, dissertation examiner, and external assessor of dossier for promotion to full professor. In 2013, she served as a member of the Local Organizing Committee for the 56th Annual Conference of the African Studies Association held in Baltimore, Maryland.


Since 2006 Dr. Chuku has served as a consultant, Nigeria-Country Expert, for the Political Asylum Research and Documentation Service (PARDS) LLC, Princeton, New Jersey, and as a recognized Nigeria-Country Expert on issues related to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and has been consulted by a number of law firms.


In conclusion, Dr. Chuku has, over the past years, engaged in active and outstanding scholarship and service. In recognition of her sustained academic research and significant contribution to historical and African-centered scholarship nationally and internationally, Dr. Chuku has been invited to write, edit, and evaluate book manuscripts for publishers; review books and assess manuscripts and proposals for academic journals and programs; assess PhD dissertations and dossiers for promotion to full professor; and give opinions and thoughts on important issues through live television appearances and other media interviews. It is in light of her demonstration of serious commitment to professionalism and the originality, quantity, scope, and quality of her publications, and her meticulous interpretation of existing evidence and the advancement of the frontiers of Igbo, Nigerian and African histories, that the TOFAC Board of Directors confers Dr. Chuku with the prestigious 2017 Ali Mazrui Award for Scholarship and Research Excellence.



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

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