In August 2002 a group of academicians and members
of the Hausa entertainment industry in Kano, Nigeria, got together to discuss
the state of research on Hausa popular culture and media technologies, with
particular reference to the Hausa home videos. It was meant to be a brainstorming
session with various inputs from members overshadowed by the then current crisis
in the non-marketability of Hausa home videos. Further, it was noted that there
had been no systematic study of the phenomena from academic perspectives, at
least by the practitioners themselves. A strong observation at this meeting
was the increasing role of media technologies in popular culture and how Hausa
urban communities are refining the concept of entertainment among the Hausa.
The group noted with concern lack of local input
into the systematized researches showing the relationship between Hausa culture
and popular media as a vehicle of cultural preservation and transmission. In
this regard, it was noted that some of the most significant advances in this
area were made by our foreign Hausaist colleagues. All these researchers have
published extensively on Hausa culture and language, and their works are heralded
as authoritative accounts of Hausa popular media. Thus while the group acknowledges
the immense contributions made by these foreign researchers, it sees these researches
as challenges to stimulating local scholars into exploring other terrains of
popular culture among the Hausa.
As a result of these observations, the group suggested
a series of activities aimed at creating collaborative opportunities for research
between local researchers, practitioners of popular culture (literature, music,
film, indigenous knowledge etc) and international partners.
The first activity suggested was for the group to
host an international conference on Hausa films with the themes of Hausa
Home Videos: Technology, Economy and Society. It was initiated envisaged
that the conference would take place in the first week of March, 2003. The group
then became the Steering Committee, and right there and then, Professor Abdalla
Uba Adamu (firstname.lastname@example.org) a cultural
theorist and change analyst, was appointed Chairman of the Conference. Various
committees were then created to organize the conference. A webpage was created
to announce the conference on www.kanonline.com in order to create an international
awareness for the conference.
However, at subsequent meetings of the Steering
Committee it was suggested that the activity should be housed with a center,
and that every two years the center should organize a seminar conference. As
such the conference was converted to Center for the International Conference
on Hausa Films. This, it was felt, will lend a certain academic focus to
the activities of the Center and at the same time make it a formal organization.
This was duly noted and approved and the Conference began to be organized around
Further discussions at the various committee levels,
the idea of the center was further refined and another suggestion was given
to convert the center into a full-fledged Center for Hausa Cultural Studies.
This was to increase the scope of the center because it was felt that there
are other interfaces of Hausa popular culture that might be left out if the
center were to focus on films only. Thus other areas of Hausa popular culture
such as music, literature, art, indigenous knowledge which are all facing challenges
from media technologies would require systematic study and analysis. Based on
these observations, it was decided to rename the center into a cultural studies
Mission and Objectives
The Center for Hausa Cultural Studies, a Non-Government
Organization based in Kano, Nigeria, is intended to be an innovative, outcomes-focused
and team-orientated group of researchers applies insights from cultural studies
and related disciplines to the development of new knowledge of relevance to
the critical and practical understanding of contemporary Hausa culture and society.
The emphasis of the center would be on independent, collaborative and interdisciplinary
research with sustainable outcomes. Practice-oriented projects pertaining to
concrete cases will also be undertaken using theoretical insights gained from
cultural studies and related disciplines. Interrelated themes of cultural diversity
and community relations will predominate, including: urban cultures and public
space; art, culture and heritage; cultural dimensions of media and technology,
and transnational connections.
Based on these observations, the following were
envisaged as the major objectives of the Center for Hausa Cultural Studies.
to create an intellectual space for interdisciplinary discussions
on contemporary Hausa societies and cultures;
to foster research
across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences; and
to build and
nurture a scholarly collaborative interaction between popular media practitioners
Center-sponsored activities will operate on three
- stimulating new research directions;
- educating students and the public;
The vehicles for these would be forum and conferences,
film series, publications, outreach and community building. It is strongly emphasized
that the center is not intended to be just a collection of theoretical academicians,
but a focus for interactivity between local practitioners and academic researchers
on the future directions of Hausa popular culture.
Thus the center will initiate, lead and co-ordinate
research activities on Hausa popular culture and media technologies. It will
organize period workshops on aspects of Hausa popular culture as they evolve
so that they can be studied in stu.
In organizing seminars and workshop for youth media
practitioners, it will liaise with a pool of professionals from each category
of popular culture to become resource persons and consultants in administering
its programs. Its activities will be published in an annual journal, Journal
of Hausa Cultural Studies, a newsletter, Al’adun Hausawa and a website,
Center for Hausa Cultural Studies (www.kanoonline.com/chcs/).
It will thus provide researchers with rich source of primary data on contemporary
The center, when fully established, would have its
target audience as youth. It is therefore envisaged that activities aimed at
youth empowerment and youth advocacy would find a comfortable niche in the center.
Although the center would be hosted in Kano, it
was felt that it should still hold is proposed international conference every
two years in all the other States in the north, as funding improves, to neighboring
Hausa countries such as Niger Republic, and countries with Hausa diaspora, such
as Ghana, Senegal and Congo/Central African Republic.
Membership and Composition
As stated earlier, the center is an NGO, and would
draw its membership from a community of Hausaist researchers – both nationally
and internationally as well as field practitioner in film, music, literature,
art, language, indigenous knowledge, social sciences, history, and health.
The center also envisages itself as a collaborative
partner with local research institutions, in particular Bayero University (Center
for the Study of Nigerian Languages, Nigerian Languages Department), Ahmadu
Bello University (Arewa House and Center for Cultural Studies) and Usman Danfodiyo
University (Nigerian Languages Department, and Center for Hausa Studies).
However, since the overall emphasis of the Center
is on media technologies and Hausa popular culture, its main methodology is
to strike a balance between academic patronage and street credibility. The outcome
of this balance is to empower practitioners of Hausa media technologies to begin
to systematize their activities so that they improve their delivery mechanism
in a way that accurately captures of media technologies in Hausa cultural transmission
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