Institute of Cultural Studies, Beside Pit Theater, OAU, Ile-Ife.
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History of the Institute of Cultural Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

The Institute of Cultural Studies (ICS), Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife was established in 1983, as successor of the defunct Institute of African Studies, which was one of the earliest units that started with the University in 1962. The Institute has as its mandate, the preservation of African cultural heritage and the study of problems of adaptation and integration of African cultural values to the experience and daily life of Africans and African descendants in the contemporary world. Hence, the Institute is committed to inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary studies of cultures.

The first Director of the former Institute of African Studies, which metamorphosed into the current Institute of Cultural Studies in 1983, was Michael Crowder. He started the annual Ife Festival of the Arts. He left in 1971. Ulli Beier, the famous Austrian researcher of Yoruba culture, was appointed by Prof. Hezekiah Oluwasanmi, the first Vice Chancellor of the University of Ife, as the Director of the Institute of African Studies in September 1971. One of the achievements of Ulli Beier was the transformation of the Ife Festival of the Arts into an annual event.

The Director at the inception of Institute Cultural Studies in 1983 was Professor Olabiyi Babalola Yai,  foremost linguist, cultural critic, philosopher, Yoruba studies expert and distinguished professor. He was succeeded by Professor Bade Ajuwon who served as the Director from 1986 to 1992. Other Directors/Acting Directors include: Professor ‘Biodun Adediran (1992 to 1996), Professor Oyin Ogunba (1996 to 1999), Dr. Gabriel Olu Akomolafe, (1999 – 2000), Professor Isola Olomola, (2000 – 2004), Dr. Wale Adeniran (2004 – 2008), Prof. Akin Alao (2008 – 2011), Prof. Gbemisola Remi Adeoti (2011 – 2015) and Dr. Jare Oladosu (2015 – 2017), Prof. Félix Ayoh’Omidire (2017 – 2022). The current Director is Professor Gbenga Fasiku.

Today, the Institute embarks on activities that promote lively exchange of ideas through seminars, webinars and conferences and also through its official Journal – IFE: Journal of the Institute of Cultural Studies. This annual publication is noted for its high academic standard.

Part of the Institute’s uniqueness derives from the University’s motto – “For Learning and Culture” as it is the intellectual unit devoted to the pursuit of the cultural mission of the University. The architecture of the Institute of African Studies building and that of the Institute of Cultural Studies beside it, depict indigenous African styles with murals and other Yoruba art motifs aimed at evoking the traditional social setting.

The Institute’s building houses the Secretariat, a Seminar Room, an Art Gallery, a Library, multimedia cultural unit and a number of staff offices. The Institute is close to the University’s ultra modern Oduduwa Hall, the University Library, the Sports Complex, the Departments of Dramatic Arts and Music Complexes and the new Mega-Lecture Theatres of the Faculty of Administration.


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