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Mediating the News in Colonial Nigeria : Students, Newspapers and "Non-Disruptive" Modes of Protest

Title data

Edeagu, Ngozi:
Mediating the News in Colonial Nigeria : Students, Newspapers and "Non-Disruptive" Modes of Protest.
Event: Rethinking the Politics and Practices of Print in Comparative Colonial Perspective (Virtual) , January 8-9, 2021 , Edinburgh Centre for Global History, University of Edinburgh.
(Conference item: Workshop , Paper )

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Project information

Project title:
Project's official title
Project's id
Writing Back to Empire: Newspaper, Non-Elites and Decolonisation in the Global Public Sphere 1937-1957
No information

Project financing: Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst

Abstract in another language

By 1950, only 6 percent of the Nigerian population was literate in English. Consequently, in the historiographical debates on intermediaries who bridged the linguistic and cultural gaps in colonial Nigeria, clerks or interpreters take centre stage. Their dominance downplays alternative figures also positioned to articulate the voices of the non- and semi-literate in English people in the colonial era—secondary school students. In particular, illiterate women depended on them to navigate the formal requirements of petition writing (Alozie 2019, 349-50). Nonetheless, these students navigated another literate arena— English language newspapers. In general, newspapers in the period made “commoners actors in the theatre of politics and enlarged the demography of politics” (Taylor 1997, 5). By virtue of their access to newspapers in school reading rooms and/or libraries, students were also immersed in wider decolonization processes unfolding from the 1930s. This paper thus aims to locate the voices of the non- and semi-literate in newspapers in colonial Nigeria through the lens of student intermediaries. In addition, it aims to uncover how students amplified the voices those protesting various exploitative aspects of colonialism. Using the West African Pilot newspaper as a case study, I explore what we do and can know about student mediation in the colonial era and help insert unrepresented voices into the narrative on newspapers.

Further data

Item Type: Conference item (Paper)
Refereed: No
Keywords: newspaper; literacy; colonialism; West African Pilot; Nigeria; student
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies > Professor History of Africa
Graduate Schools > BIGSAS
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies
Graduate Schools
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 000 Computer Science, information, general works > 070 News media, journalism and publishing
900 History and geography > 900 History
900 History and geography > 960 History of Africa
900 History and geography > 970 History of North America
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2022 09:44
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2022 09:44