Fela Kuti study group partners DAWN, others, on international conference on religion, Fela’s philosophy

Scholars, researchers and stakeholders in African and Diaspora studies are set to gather for the third edition of the Fela Kuti International Conference on African Homelands and Social Theory.

The conference is being organised by the Fela Kuti Study Group domiciled in the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, in conjunction with the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission and several other pan-African study groups.

At a press conference held at the office of DAWN Commission in Ibadan on Friday, the convener, Olusegun Ogundele explained that Africanist scholars and researchers in African and the Diaspora especially those that research on Fela Kuti and FelAfrobeat studies, will be part of the conference.

He said that the 2018 edition, themed, ‘Religion-State Relationship in Post-Colonial Africa: Issues, Context and Perspectives’, “is carefully chosen to ruminate on the spate of the eclectical roles that religion seems to play in the lives of Nigerians, and also in the entire polity.”

He added that at the conference which holds from October 10 to 11, 2018, scholars, researchers and intellectuals will brainstorm on “providing alternatives for the advancement of African educational curriculum and decolonization of cultural and knowledge systems in Nigeria and Africa at large”.

Prof. Dele Layiwola of the Institute of African Studies, UI, who was part of the press conference, explained that the conference could be viewed as the intellectual counterpart of Felabration, an annual Fela-themed music carnival organised by the late musician’s family members in Lagos. Felabration holds between October 15 to 21, 2018.

According to Layiwola, former director of IAS, Felabration is a celebration of the art and practice of Fela’s music, while the forthcoming conference is the interrogation of the concept and intellectual content of the legend’s music, life and philosophy. The two events are however independent of each other.

Mr Oladipo Abiodun, who represented the Director-General of DAWN Commission, Mr. Seye Oyeleye, explained that the commission was glad to be part of the conference because of its agreement with the social and human development pillar in DAWN’s Education programmes in South West Nigeria.

According to him, DAWN commission is very much interested in how the outcome of such an intellectual conference holding in Ibadan, the capital of South West Nigeria, will help improve education in the region.

The conference is scheduled to hold from October 10 to 11, 2018 at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan, with Prof. Toyin Falola of the Department of History, University of Texas, USA, as keynote speaker. On October 10, by 10am, the professor will be speaking on “The Bible as an Epistemology”.

There would be a special screening of Alex Gibney’s film on Fela Anikulapo Kuti, ‘Finding Fela’ on October 9, 2018 by 4pm at the Faculty of Arts, UI.

Other speakers expected at the event include Dr. Jare Oladosu, Department of Philosophy, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; Prof. J.K Ayantayo, Department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan; Prof. Isaac Albert, Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan; Dr. Adams Akewula Department of Islamic and Arabic Studies, University of Ibadan, Prof. Ademola Dasylva, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan and other notable scholars.

Other collaborators for the conference include Department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan; GOETHE institute; French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA-Nigeria); Alliance Francaise, Ibadan; Toyin Falola Centre for the Study of Africa, U.S.A; Pan-African University Press and African Studies Students’ Association, University of Ibadan

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