Wale Adebanwi

Wale Adebanwi

Presidential Penn Compact Professor of Africana Studies


Wale Adebanwi is Presidential Penn Compact Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His research and teaching interests are in the broad area of the social mobilisation of power and interests in Africa as manifested in and/or through ethnicity, nationalism, racial and urban formations, elites, state and civil society, media, intellectual history, and social theory.

Professor Adebanwi received his BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, MSc in Political Science from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Ibadan, and MPhil and Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge, UK. His sole-authored monographs include Authority Stealing: Anti-Corruption War and Democratic Politics in Post-Military Nigeria (CAP, 2011), Yorùbá Elites and Ethnic Politics in Nigeria: Obáfémi Awólówò and Corporate Agency (Cambridge, 2014), The Nation as Grand Narrative: The Nigerian Press and the Politics of Meaning (Rochester, 2016). He is the (co)editor of eight books the most recent of which is Elites and the Politics of Accountability in Africa (Michigan, 2021). His latest edited volume, Everyday State and Democracy in Africa: Ethnographic Encounters will be published by Ohio University Press in 2022.

He has been a co-editor of the Journal of Contemporary African Studies and AFRICA: Journal of the International Africa Institute. His scholarly articles have appeared in Theory, Culture and Society, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Journal of Historical Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, Citizenship Studies, Democratization, African Affairs, Journal of Modern African Studies, AFRICA: Journal of the International Africa Institute, and Review of African Political Economy.

Before joining the University of Pennsylvania, he was, at various times, an assistant professor, associate professor, and full professor at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, University of California, Davis, USA, and University of Oxford, UK. He was the Rhodes Professor of Race Relations until June 2021, Director of the African Studies Center, Oxford (2017 and 2020) and a Governing Board Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford. He was a Visiting Professor at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa and he is currently an Honorary Research Associate at the African Studies Center, Oxford.


Research Interests
  • Ethnicity
  • Nationalism
  • Race, Elites, Media, State
  • Urban formations
  • Intellectual History
CV (file)