KWASU destined for greatness – York Varsity Scholar

A Professor of English (Modern Literature) at the University of York, United Kingdom, David Attwell, has expressed optimism that with the giant strides being made by the Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, some remarkable intellectual projects would soon emerge from the University. 

Attwell, who is also the Head, Department of English and Related Literature, University of York, was a visiting Professor to the Department of English, College of Humanities, Management and Social Sciences, KWASU.

Speaking in an interview with KWASU UPDATE the scholar said, “The University is only opened for six years now and there is so much development and so much is still going on. The University has achieved an enormous amount in a very short space of time. That is my overall impression and I can see from the vision of the Vice-Chancellor that great things are still in store for KWASU.”

He noted that his visit, the first to Nigeria and West Africa in general, was facilitated by the pioneer Provost of the College of Humanities, Management and Social Sciences, Prof. Abiola Irele, who he described as one of the greatest scholars of African Literature, Culture and Thought in the world.

“It was a great honour to be invited by Prof. Irele to come to KWASU to give some lectures and he asked me very specifically, the class he wanted me to give. He has been convinced for a long time that some of the earliest development in what he called Modern African Literature, before the Achebe/Soyinka generation, happened in South Africa, going back to the 1860s. So, he wanted me to provide some lectures on the early history of South African literature by African authors. That is what I have done,” he stated.

Attwell, whose first publication was on Wole Soyinka, has published widely on Anglophone African literature, South African literature and postcolonial studies.

“When I was working on Soyinka, it became very clear to me that he was deeply enmeshed in Yoruba mythology, and so I read a lot on Yoruba mythology through the anthropological texts and literary critiques and so forth. But they were all coming out of books and it was like solving an intellectual puzzle. Now that I can see the social background for myself, things fall into place in a very different way,” he remarked.      

He expressed the hope that his visit would usher in a two-way exchange, whereby young faculty members of KWASU would also visit the University of York for internationalisation and staff development pragrammes. 

Also speaking, the Head, Department of English, Prof. Mary Kolawole, described the visit as a productive one and the beginning of an interaction and a linkage between KWASU and the University of York, saying, “You cannot define a people’s literature without having some access to the culture. It makes a big difference.”

She, therefore, stressed the need to project the Humanities in the present age of technology, so that scholars of the Humanities would continue to be relevant in the scheme of things. 

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