Saturday, 23 February 2013
(47): Dual Professorship, borderless scholarship (III)
Thus, by 2010 he had become one of the world’s leading authorities on Hausa media popular culture, evidenced in the dozens of books, journal articles and book chapters he has published in the area (see, for instance, his website, Foundation for Hausa Performing Arts).This, in addition to over 50 conferences in Nigeria, Niger and countries like US, UK, Germany, Morocco, Senegal, Egypt, Ethiopia, Turkey, Switzerland, Cameroon and South Africa.
In March 2012, he took up appointment as the European Union Visiting Professor of Media and Cultural Communication at the University of Warsaw, Poland, where he taught a course on African popular culture, as well as another one on global dimensions of folktales. His visit in Poland culminated in a guest lecture he delivered at the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures, the Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw in June 2012.
On his return to Nigeria, and taking into consideration his considerable contributions to the area of media and cultural communication, he was encouraged by the Bayero University authorities to submit his papers for possible promotion to the Chair of Media and Cultural Communication In the Department of Mass Communication where he had been teaching since 2006 (and supervising MSc and PhD students) in order to boost the development of the field in the university, and also add to the manpower strength of a proposed Department of Theater Arts and Film Studies in the University.
On Wednesday 30th January 2013, the Council of the Bayero University Kano approved the recommendation of his assessors that he should be promoted to the position of Professor of Media and Cultural Communication, and be transferred to the Department of Mass Communication. Prof. Adamu, to the best of my knowledge, is the first person from northern Nigeria to have double professorship and in two different disciplines (Education, and Media Studies).
The journey was not easy for him, for it took 15 years to establish his intellectual credibility in mass communications (from 1997 when he was first promoted to professor of Science Education, to 2012 when he was promoted to professor of media and cultural communication). Along the line, though, he had pioneered a radical approach to the study of media and its impact on traditional cultures. His works, ranging from critical analyses of media censorship to rap vocal wars among Hausa musicians, and most significantly, his intertextual analyses of translocation of literary and visual cultures from other parts of the world to Hausa societies, including studies of posters, artworks, have opened up new vistas of research for other researchers who were unsure of the dividing line between mainstream mass communication, with its focus on print and broadcast journalism, and a more redefined media studies.
His pioneering use of digital technologies to record local performances and share them on content sites such as YouTube also created a community pool of what he refers to as ‘citizen anthropologists’ who can now digitally record ordinary, but significant lives, and share them to the world to provide a more balanced picture of traditional communities.
Again, as far as I know, he might probably be the only professor of media and cultural communication in Nigeria. If not, then his addition to the surely small pool would greatly help to open up mass communication and bring it to the current age where the boundaries are blurred, and SNSs have enabled the creation of new virtual avatars that are often doppelgängers of their creators – drawing new attention to social identity theory, where the society is no longer what we know, but is made up of digits and buttons in the virtual matrix.
In conclusion, I congratulate Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, and the Bayero University community for this achievement. I couldn’t think of a better way to conclude this series, than with the words of one of Professor Abdalla’s students, and equally another intellectual in his own right, Dr Salisu Shehu, who stated that “our teacher is also a man of candor, never given to kumbiya-kumbiya or gossips. How would he have time for these vanities when he always has one paper to write or one conference to make lead presentations or globe trotting across the continents to distinctively make spectacular outings and presentations in academic and intellectual fora?. Allah Ya ja Kwana, Ya Kara lafiyar Farfesa. Allah ya kara basira. Allah sanya tsoron Allah a cikin ilimin. Allah sa ya zama hanyar tsira duniya da lahira [Long live the Professor. May Allah bless him with a sound health, increase him in wisdom, inculcate God’s consciousness in his knowledge, and may He make it a source of salvation in this world and the hereafter]. The Aminu Ala's of this world must be rehearsing some bakandamiya to celebrate the double Professorship”.
17th February, 2013