Meet Prof. Toyin Fálọlá


Toyin Falola, Ph.D., is the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and most recently the Kluge Chair of the Countries and Culture of the South, the Library of Congress in Washington DC. He is a celebrated author, editor, writer, poet, academic leader, organizer, teacher, Pan-Africanist, and visionary of extraordinary grace, talent, and accomplishments. An author and editor of over one hundred and sixty books on Africa and the African Diaspora, he has been invited to speak on all continents, and in over sixty countries, and is widely proclaimed as Africa’s preeminent historian and one of the major intellectuals of our time. Many of his books have received awards, defined various fields, and inspired the writings of various critical works. He manages six distinguished scholarly monograph series and serves on the board of over twenty journals.

A global icon in African Studies, Toyin Falola has received eleven honorary doctorates: Doctor of Humane Letters from Lincoln University, Doctor of Humanities from Monmouth University, Doctor of Humane Letters from the City University of New York, Staten Island, D. Litt. from Lead City University, D. Litt. Adekunle Ajasin University, D. ED. from Tai Solarin University of Education (Nigeria), D. Litt. from the University of Jos, D. Litt. from Redeemer’s University, D. Litt from Olabisi Onabanjo University, D. Litt. from Caleb University, and D. Litt. from McPherson University.

His lifetime career awards include the Nigerian Diaspora Academic Prize, the Cheikh Anta Diop Award, the Amistad Award, the SIRAS Award for Outstanding Contribution to African Studies, Africana Studies Distinguished Global Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award, Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, Fellow of the Historical Society of Nigeria, and The Distinguished Africanist Award.

An annual international conference has been named after him, TOFAC (Toyin Falola Annual Conference on Africa and the African Diaspora) which meets every July at a major African university. The Association of Third World Studies has named its annual best book award after him as the Toyin Falola Prize for the best book on Africa. His memoir, A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt, captures his childhood, while another memoir, Counting the Tiger’s Teeth, covers his years as a teenager.

For his contributions to the study of Africa, his students and colleagues have presented him with a set of five Festschriften, two edited by Adebayo Oyebade, The Transformation of Nigeria: Essays in Honor of Toyin Falola and The Foundations of Nigeria: Essays in Honor of Toyin Falola, one by Akin Ogundiran, Precolonial Nigeria: Essays in Honor of Toyin Falola, and yet another by Nana Amposah, Beyond the Boundaries: Toyin Falola and the Art of Genre-Bending.Toyin Falola: The Man, Mask and Muse presents a bio-critical study of his works in over a thousand pages. Two full-length books by Abdul Bangura examine his contributions to pedagogy: Toyin Falola and African Epistemologies; and Falolaism: The Epistemologies and Methodologies of Africana Knowledge.

Professor Falola has received various awards and honors in various parts of the world. At the University of Texas at Austin, he received the Jean Holloway Award for Teaching Excellence, The Texas Exes Teaching Award, the Chancellor’s Council Outstanding Teaching Award, Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, and the Career Research Excellence Award. His lifetime career awards are over two dozen, including three Yoruba chieftain titles, most notably the Bobapitan of Ibadanland.

He served as the Chair of the ASA Herskovits Prize for the best book on Africa, the chair of the Martin Klein Book prize for the best book on African history (American Historical Association), and a committee member of the Joel Gregory Prize for the Canadian Association of African Studies. He once served as the Vice President of the International Scientific Committee, UNESCO Slave Route Project, President of the African Studies Association, and President of the Nigerian Studies Association.