Opportunity: J.A. Atanda Prize for the Best Essay on the Yoruba



Joseph Adebowale Atanda was a passionate historian who dedicated his scholarship to the historiography of Africa, especially that of the Yoruba. Popular among his publications are The New Oyo Empire: Indirect Rule and Change in Western Nigeria, 1894-1934An Introduction to Yoruba History and Baptist Churches in Nigeria: Accounts of Their Foundation and Growth. The robust contributions of Atanda to Yoruba Studies have enhanced the existing knowledge of the Yoruba history, culture and spirituality, as well as the colonial and postcolonial relation. More than two decades after his demise, his scholarship remains relevant, and more increasingly so.

It is on this premise that the Yoruba Studies Review decided to celebrate and honor his distinctiveness with the J.A. Atanda Prize for the Best Essay on the Yoruba, and in doing so, promote and preserve the legacy he embodied. The objective is to promote and revive the socio-cultural and religious significance of the Yoruba, and as a result contribute to the stream of revivalist efforts geared towards the resuscitation of the African spirit. For it is in the history, language, culture and worldview that the spirit flourishes.

The J.A. Atanda Prize for the Best Essay on the Yoruba is worth $500. The J. A. Atanda Prize represents a solid and remarkable platform for the promotion and further development of Yoruba Studies.


  • Preliminary Evaluation: January 1 – April 15, 2020
  • Longlist Announcement:  July, 2020
  • Shortlist Announcement: September, 2020
  • Announcement of Winner: October, 2020

Review and Evaluation Guidelines:

Only the essays published (or to be published) in Yoruba Studies Review qualify for this award.

While all submissions are acceptable in English, we especially encourage essays written in Yoruba.

We also welcome translation of essays on the Yoruba, but the prize would be shared between the translator and original writer (if still alive).

Where an unpublished essay receives the prize, the entrant gives the exclusive right to edit and publish the work upon selection for longlist in Yoruba Studies Review.

The editors of Yoruba Studies Review will choose the best essays according to a professional and rigorous set of guidelines covering data quality, originality, and contributions to knowledge.

The editors of Yoruba Studies Review will constitute a jury for each year. The short-listed essays will be sent to members of the jury for final determination of the winner.


Chair:            Professor Akinloye Ojo, University of Georgia

Members:      Professor Segun Ogungbemi, Independent Scholar

                        Dr. Bose Afolayan, University of Lagos

Secretary to the Jury: Kaosarat Aina, University of Ibadan

Toyin Falola

Department of History

The University of Texas at Austin

104 Inner Campus Drive

Austin, TX 78712-0220, USA


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