CEDITRAA Fellow 2023 Ass. Prof. Dr. James Yékú at Johannes Gutenberg- Universität Mainz

Dr. James Yékú is the second CEDITRAA Fellow at the department of Anthropology and African Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

As an Assistant Professor of African digital humanities at the University of Kansas, James Yékú’s research delves into the realm of digital literary studies, focusing on the platformization of African cultural productions. Throughout his career, he has made significant contributions to the fields of African cultural studies, social media and visual culture, shedding light on the transformative power of the digital sphere in shaping contemporary African society.

Published 2022 by Indiana University Press, his book, Cultural Netizenship explores the aesthetic and cultural dimensions of internet citizenship. He examines how digital subjects in Nigeria, known for its vibrant digital sphere, deconstruct state power through viral protest selfies, Nollywood-derived memes, GIFs, hashtags, and political cartoons. By analyzing these visual texts, Yékú uncovers the logic of remediation inherent in both the internet's remix culture and the generative materialism of African popular arts.

In addition to his groundbreaking work on digital cultural studies, James Yékú is an accomplished poet. His poetry collection, Where the Baedeker Leads, published by Mawenzi House, Toronto, invites readers to embark on a journey through delicate layers of experiences between departures and arrivals. Yékú's co-edited anthology of poems, Sọ̀rọ̀sóke: An #Endsars Anthology, serves as a testament to the resilience and determination of a youth movement against state violence and is an essential contribution to contemporary literature, capturing the spirit of the 2020 #EndSARS protests in Nigeria.

In his public lecture at Johannes Gutenberg University on June 20, Yékú will explore the intersection of African literature, cancel culture, and the algorithmic age. He investigates the role of algorithms in shaping digital platforms and fostering outrage within literary conversations. By analyzing literary controversies on social media and digital platforms, Yékú highlights the challenges and complexities of African literary discourse in the era of digital culture and extractive data relations.


CEDITRAA Fellow 2022 Dr. Patrick Oloko at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Dr. Patrick Oloko is the first CEDITRAA fellow at the department of Anthropology and African Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Oloko is a well-known scholar of Literature and Cultural Studies at the department of English, University of Lagos, Nigeria.

For the duration of one month, he works on new expressions of popular culture that Nollywood has sparked off in Nigeria. During his stay in Germany, he actively participates in two panels convened by CEDITRAA members at the biannual VAD (Verein der AfrikanistenDeutschlands) conference, at Freiburg, and presents his work in the weekly seminar series of the department of Anthropology and African Studies, on 28 June 2022. In this talk he features how themes of Nollywood are increasingly represented in Nigerian print literature and have contributed to the emerging genre of the “Nolly Novel” (for more details have a look at the presentation abstract).

Oloko also greatly enhanced the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding between University of Lagos and Johannes Gutenberg University that will facilitate cooperation between both universities and broaden the scope of the CEDITRAA project. There are plans for the near future to co-supervise doctoral students and organise a joint conference on African cultural industries and digital transformation at University of Lagos in 2023.

Image taken by Matthias Krings: Patrick Oloko with three Kenyan colleagues in front of the bust of Johannes Gutenberg, at the university campus, Mainz. From left to right: Dr. Patrick Oloko, Dr. James Ogone, Dr. Fredrick Mbogo and Dr. Solomon Waliaula