In a disturbing development, Professor Hakim Adi, the first Nigerian-British professor of the History of Africa and the African diaspora in the UK, faces the potential discontinuation of his esteemed course at the University of Chichester. The news emerged in July that the University intends to halt all recruitment to the Masters by Research (MRes) programme, sparking concerns over racial bias and the devaluation of African history.
The University’s decision to potentially terminate Professor Adi’s MRes course, without his consultation, has been met with widespread criticism. Observers argue that this move undermines the significance of Black history and African ancestry.
Professor Adi, a respected historian, author, and activist, has dedicated his life to the study and teaching of African history. His extensive work has highlighted the often overlooked contributions of Africans and people of African descent to British history, as well as the complex relationships between Africa and its diaspora.
The unique MRes course, initiated in 2017, is the only one of its kind in Europe. It was proposed at the History Matters conference in 2015 and has been supported by the University of Chichester. The course has been instrumental in producing six current Ph.D. students and has drawn support from within Britain, North America, Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia.
Despite its academic value, the University cites financial reasons for its decision. It claims to have invested over £700,000 into the programme since its inception, with only £150,000 recouped in tuition fees. Critics, however, argue that this justification commercializes education and overlooks the course’s educational importance.
Critics further express the fear that suspending this unique course will create a gap in our understanding of African history and culture. They argue that it would limit students’ ability to fully comprehend Africa’s complex historical and present-day challenges, and hinder efforts to combat stereotypes about Africa.
As of August 5th, 2023, a petition on Change.org opposing the proposed discontinuation and Professor Adi’s dismissal has gathered over 10,000 signatures. Critics are calling for greater transparency from the University and for it to invest more resources into promoting the course.
The decision to halt Professor Adi’s course is viewed by many as an affront to Black academia. The course is seen as vital in providing a comprehensive education that includes an understanding of international history, and equipping students to engage intelligently with the global community. Critics are urging the University of Chichester to reconsider its decision.
SOURCE: Nigerian Tribune
IMAGE: Kentake Page