Akin Adesokan

Professor Adesokan teaches comparative literature at the University of Indiana, Bloomington, where he is also the director of the undergraduate program.

Posts by Akin Adesokan:


Ade Love: 20 Years On

In the last week of December 2016, members of the family of the late actor and producer, Adeyemi Afolayan (Ade Love), as well as the artistic community at large set about commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the death of this major figure in the history of Nigerian cinema. As I…

Prof Akin Adesokan

How Do You Hide Three Hundred Girls? By Akin Adesokan

I want to be clear from the outset: the Islamist fundamentalist group called Boko Haram is a terrorist organization and has to be treated as such, as groups of its ilk are perceived and treated, making allowance for local specificities. And there goes the rub, in the local specificities, burrowing…


“Why I Stopped Making Films”—Amaka Igwe

Foremost Nigerian filmmaker, writer, television producer, and entrepreneur, Amaka Igwe, died suddenly on Monday, April 28, 2014. She was reportedly working on location in Enugu, eastern Nigeria, when she took ill. One of the leading figures in the Nigerian film industry at the decisive moment in the early 1990s when…

Prof Akin Adesokan

Another Long Walk Begins (2), By Akin Adesokan

Right now, I have before me two documents: the Bill proposed to the Nigerian parliament in 2006 to “make provisions for the prohibition of sexual relations between persons of the same sex,” and the act signed into law in January 2014 “to prohibit marriage or civil union entered between persons…

Prof Akin Adesokan

Another Long Walk Begins, By Akin Adesokan

With the promulgation of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition law this past January, the Nigerian government may have initiated a process that, so far as one can see, will take a long time to unfold. Hopefully not. From the point of view of the potential victims of this law, the more…

Prof Akin Adesokan

Encountering Amiri Baraka On His Turf, By Akin Adesokan

[NOTE: This essay was first published as part of a longer piece in January 2001, and has been revised in light of the passing of Amiri Baraka] The wiry, slightly stooped man leaps on the stage, clutching a sheaf of papers. Spectacles peering beneath an Elvis Presley cap, face framed…

Prof Akin Adesokan

Kofi Awoonor: In Memoriam, By Akin Adesokan

The Ghanaian poet and diplomat, Kofi Awoonor, was one of the fifty-nine people murdered last month in Nairobi by Islamist terrorists. He was attending the Storymoja Hay Festival, a literary event held annually in the Kenyan capital. During the festival, his new collection of poems, Promise of Hope, was scheduled…

Prof Akin Adesokan

What is Boko Haram? By Akin Adesokan

[NOTE: This column was written before the author became aware of last Friday’s terrorist attacks in Nairobi, Kenya, in which 59 people were killed and many wounded. Such was the nature of the event in which the killings occurred that the author himself could have been there, a victim as…

Prof Akin Adesokan

Come, Watch the Swamp Dwellers Dance! By Akin Adesokan

In the euphoric days following the end of military rule, with Olusegun Obasanjo settled into his job as Nigeria’s President and the specter of Shari’a law still in the northern horizon, I was asked to review a new, non-commercial magazine published by the Nigerian chapter of a non-governmental organization interested…

Prof Akin Adesokan

Neo Africanus: In Teju Cole’s World, By Akin Adesokan

Of the many encounters in which Julius, the protagonist of Open City, Teju Cole’s elegantly disarming novel, finds himself, two strike me as constituting the pulse of the subtle cultural politics animating the novel. In the first, the young psychiatrist is about to post a letter when the post office clerk,…

Prof Akin Adesokan

Trayvon, Thy Skin Is Thy Sin! By Akin Adesokan

Late one evening in mid-February 1999, I stood at a train station in Oakland, California, waiting for a Bay Area Rapid Transit ride to the Oakland airport. I was returning home to Los Angeles after giving a lecture at San Francisco State University. Nearby was a group of very loud…

Akin Adesokan

What It Means To Be Roger Federer, By Akin Adesokan

With his second-round loss to an unknown Ukrainian player in this year’s Wimbledon, tennis great Roger Federer has missed reaching the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam event for the first time since the 2004 French Open. Federer fell to Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6, 6-7, 5-7, 6-7 on Wednesday June 26, at…

Prof Akin Adesokan

How Hugo Chavez Spent His Oil Money, By Akin Adesokan

The death last week of the President of Venezuela, Commandante Hugo Chavez, caught me by surprise, although I was aware of his hospitalization in Cuba. I held the optimistic belief that Chavez, a tough survivor, would triumph over his illness as Fidel Castro, his acclaimed mentor, triumphed over his. No,…

Prof Akin Adesokan

Dreams that Obey No Boundaries, By Akin Adesokan

If you want to know what a serious thinker considers the idea closest to his heart, pay attention to what he says in more than one place, what he repeats, what he restates, irrespective of time or place. In most cases, allowing for the unpredictable, the outlier in the nature…

Prof Akin Adesokan

Nigeria the Beautiful? Thinking with Odia Ofeimun, By Akin Adesokan

How does one maintain optimism about Nigeria? All visible signs show a country in poor shape and steadily getting worse. There is very little security of life and property, even without the Boko Haram onslaught. There is a lot of money in very few and undeserving hands. Random and systematic…

Akin Adesokan

Celebrating Martin Banham, great scholar and intimate outsider, @ 80, By Akin Adesokan

[caption id="attachment_100794" align="aligncenter" width="308"] Akin Adesokan celebrates Martin Banham, a great British drama scholar, who has fond memories about Nigeria and its unique theater climate[/caption] Martin Banham, the retired drama scholar at Leeds University in Britain, turned eighty on December 8, 2012. I have never met Banham, nor even had…

Akin Adesokan

Extraordinary Country, Ordinary President, By Akin Adesokan

"Nigerians expect a lot from their presidents; they expect a president to be powerful without being overbearing." (more…)