West Africa Review (1999)
West Africa Review is the product of a specific historical conjucture framed by the following issues: (1) the downturn in the economies of various West African countries and the consequent deleterious effects on their educational systems and resources--resources especially publishing outlets for the dissemination of results of researches. (2) The increasingly large constituency of West Africanists in America and Europe, a constituency not currently served by a journal focused on the region. (3) The increasing presence in the North American academy of West Africans, a majority of whom are scholars of West African matters. This is in addition to the already existing substantial and vibrant interest in West African studies, as well as, outside the academy, an increasing general interest in the histories, cultures and traditions of various West African countries. (4) Finally, the dearth of regional-specific sources in North America and Europe where the sheer volume of excellent work on West African studies that is being produced can be disseminated.
Thus, we designed West Africa Review as a remedy to glaring inadequacies in the focused and timely dissemination of research matters pertaining to West African studies. The journal will provide a much-needed forum for original work being done by scholars of West Africa in and outside of the region, works that would otherwise gather dust in folders or wait for years before appearing in book form. And because of the current problems of dissemination of results of researches done in West Africa--the death of many local journals and the limited circulation of few surviving ones, West Africa Review will particularly serve as a publication of record for research produced and published in the region, thereby facilitating productive exchanges among scholars of the region wherever they may be.
West Africa Review will be multi-disciplinary. It will get its materials from the disciplines of the humanities and the social sciences broadly. Special issues will allow for focus on specific disciplines as circumstances warrant. The only journal with such a coverage is Odu: Journal of West African Studies, based at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria. Of course, this journal has not been exempted from the recent dire circumstances of the Nigerian education system generally and the university system in particular. Since the past decade, it has appeared only erratically, if at all. West Africa Review will continue in the best tradition of Odu in its heydays by disseminating in a timely manner the best of the current thinking in West African studies. But located in the American academy at the present time, West Africa Review would have access to resources, both human, technical, and financial, that Odu never had. Thus it will decisively surpass Odu in disciplinary coverage, audience reach, and interactions with the latest currents in other areas of African studies. Being web-based will particularly help in the latter goal, for one of the ironies of the late twentieth-century is that research materials on the web are becoming much more accessible than print even in those regions where apparent logic dictates that the prohibitive cost of web access should make it impossible.
In addition to original research, short articles, and book reviews, West Africa Review will also publish letters, news and notes (which will include a digest of the latest West African materials produced in and outside the region, a calendar of relevant activities of institutions in West Africa, information on newly found research resources for West African studies both in and outside the region), notices and annoucements of conferences, exchange and fellowship opportunities.
To scholars, policy makers and enthusiasts of West Africa, West Africa Review offers both a challenge and a promise: a challenge to be daring in rethinking the state of health of West Africa and of West African studies in the new millenium, and a promise to be a fearless home for the prompt and broad dissemination of such astute and path-clearing thinking. It is in eloquent demonstration of this promise that we offer the following materials for our inaugural issue.
© Copyright 1999 Africa Resource Center.
Olaniyan, Tejumola. (1999). EDITORIAL. West Africa Review: 1, 1. [iuicode: http://www.westafricareview.com/war/vol1.1].