HUMANITIES SCHOLARSHIP AND THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT
CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP, —- PAPER PRESENTATIONS —–, AGM and LOTS MORE
Professor Obododinma Oha—University of Ibadan
Dr. Bode Ayorinde- Pro-Chancellor, Achievers University Owo
Professor Daniel Nkemleke- University of Yaounde, Cameroon
Individuals are shaped by the social environment in which they are born, raised and nurtured culturally, educationally and politically. The social environment, social context or milieu, consists in the immediate physical and social setting in which people live and interact. In recent times, there is hardly any news about our social environment that does not start with a catalogue of problems: insecurity, toxic leaders, massive erosion of human values and moral failures, lived experience of injustice, unemployment, extreme poverty, assorted forms of oppression, suppression and domination, exclusion and discrimination. The list continues ad infinitum.
Littering the historical landscape are practical examples of how great minds as we know them today were shaped by the dynamics of events perceived in their social environment and to which they responded given the sensitivity of their minds. Specifically, an examination of the essential works of intellectual traditions reveals that the social environment that produced the likes of Plato, Thomas More, Thomas Hobbes, Martin Luther, Calvin, Shakespeare, Karl Marx, Martin Luther King Jr., Frantz Fanon, Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka is similar to the actual scene of events confronting the scholar today.
The relationship between the scholar and his social environment is a dialectical one. Difficulties encountered in one’s social context and the negative social experiences are the levers that compel many a scholar to give diagnoses of what are perceived to be the ills of the society in which one lives, as well as the solution thereof. At the same time, hostile environmental conditions and negative experiences can also impede access to the infrastructure that is required for scholarly engagements, functioning as obstacles to such engagements. In other words, negative experiences of injustice in the system, poverty, domination, authoritarian or undemocratic regimes can undermine the subjective abilities of the scholar to respond to the actual scene of the environment. Describing these kinds of subjective social effects and, more generally, analyzing the negative contribution of social experience to scholarship are imperatives for the scholars in the humanities as social barometers and town cries. Many a scholar’s response may be that of fiddling while the social environment burns, of alienation, of nihilism or of affirmation?
Specifically, responses in the past have been a blend of nihilism and affirmation. The former springs from the desire to rid the social environment of all the influences that are perceived to be erosive and destructive. The latter response consists in constructing a society characterized by justice, freedom and tranquility, engaging in deliberations and processes that are intended to either change or modify the social context. In view of the foregoing, humanistic scholarship should be geared towards influencing life for a better and peaceful society. As both causes and effects, such is a revolt against the crises of the day.
This conference is convened to interrogate the dynamics of our social environment using our disciplinary tools. It aims to expose the dialectic between the social environment and scholarship in the Humanities. Scholars in the Humanities across the length and breadth of Nigerian Universities and beyond will gather to articulate, deliberate on and critique the interplay between the contradictory forces of the social environment and scholarship in the Humanities.
Prof. Dorothy Oluwagbemi-Jacob
Dr. Edward Ugbada Adie
3. HISTORY AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
- Genetics, history and identity
- Trends in African and African Diaspora research.
- History and interdisciplinarity in the 21st
- Memory, orality and historical reconstruction.
- History and the Nigerian Social Environment.
- Technology and historical Scholarship in the 21st
- African linguistics, Documentation and History.
- Nomenclature and Historical Scholarship.
- Race, xenophobia and Nationalism in History.
- Gender, History and the Social Environment.