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Dr Chimaobi Onwukwe

LUCAS / LARI Virtual Research Fellow 2022
Areas of expertise
Indigenous and marginalized youth in Sub-Saharan Africa; Migration; Language; Social Change; Linguistics
Social Sciences
School of Politics and International Studies

Dr Chimaobi Onwukwe is a senior lecturer in the Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies/Igbo, Abia State University, Uturu, Nigeria where he has worked for over a decade now.

He was a research scholar UNESCO global project on indigenous and marginalized youth in Sub-Saharan Africa, Center for lifelong learning (2017-2019), as well as research fellow, Institute for French research in Africa (IFRA), 2020, and recently, Postdoctoral fellow, South African Research Chair Initiative (SARCHi) on migration, language and social change, Linguistics section, University of Cape Town, South Africa (2019-2021). Dr Onwukwe was a Carnegie Corporation of New York fellow 2021, and 2020 recipient of the research grant of the African Peacebuilding Network of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), New York, USA.

He is a recipient of Nigeria’s Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund) research grant for different research projects in 2016, 2018, and 2019. He holds a bachelor’s (First class Hons) and doctorate degrees in linguistics with over 30 publications in international and national peer-reviewed outlets. His research interests are formal linguistics (morphology, phonology, semantics), sociolinguistics (of migration), communication and cultural studies (onomastics and indigenous peacebuilding studies).

Between May and July 2022,  As part of his LUCAS/LAHRI Fellowship, Chimaobi will be developing his project Unveiling the shrouds of secrecy: Exploring the peacebuilding roles of rituals, divinations, and enchantments in the indigen-settler conflict in South-Eastern, Nigeria.

Whilst associated with LAHRI and LUCAS, he will be collaborating with University of Leeds academic, Winnie Bedigen (School of Politics and International Studies).

Fellowship Abstract

There is a growing need for a better understanding of the role of African socioreligious ‘everyday’ practices for conflict resolution as a way of advancing the critical decolonial perspective (Zondi, 2017, Wang 2020, Bedigen, 2021). This need underlies the quest to foreground “Africa” as a starting point for interrogating existing knowledge as well as developing new knowledges relating to conflicts. The study reflects on the conflict resolution mechanisms embedded in African traditional institutions for promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. In particular, the study examines the peacebuilding roles and significance of rituals, divinations, enchantments in the indigen-settler conflict in Nigeria with a focus on the conflict in Igbo land. The Igbo are traditionally religious, and everyday religious practices govern their lives. At the centre of indigen-settler conflicts is land and associated resources. Land to the Igbo, is a culturally significant entity, and the dictates of its use are religiously explained. Drawing on data from semi-structured interviews and in-depth focus group discussions, the study documents and analyzes rituals, enchantments, and divinations on land related matters as well as explore peacebuilding significances in specific indigen-settler conflicts across Igbo traditional communities. The study provides original insights to bottom-up peacebuilding approach to indigen-settler conflict which sheds light on “African knowledges for Global challenges”.