Rebecca Jones

Rebecca Jones

Department of African Studies and Anthropology
Research Fellow

Contact details

I am a Research Fellow working with Dr Insa Nolte and Professor Koya Ogen on the ERC-funded project, ‘Knowing Each Other: everyday religious encounters, social identities and tolerance in southwest Nigeria.' The project centres on the everyday lives of Yoruba Muslims, Christians and traditionalists, and it explores the way in which religious differences and encounters structure the experiences, perceptions and behaviours of Yoruba individuals in their everyday social identities as men and women as well as members of different generations, and through life and family histories.

In 2014 I also completed my PhD here at Department of African Studies and Anthropology; my thesis was concerned with a century of Nigerian domestic travel writing in both Yoruba and English, from 1914-2014. I worked with a range of local Yoruba and English literary forms, including newspaper travelogues, town histories, novels, autobiography and internet-based memoirs. The thesis is a literary study of the ways Nigerians have represented the heterogeneity of Nigeria to themselves and to the world. It particularly discusses the relationship between travel and local cosmopolitanisms, narrative, knowledge, texts, genre, translation, migration and the growth of a local Yoruba-English print culture. 


  • BA Hons English, University of Cambridge
  • MA African Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
  • PhD African Studies, University of Birmingham


After a first degree in English at New Hall (now Murray Edwards College), University of Cambridge, I studied for an MA in African Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where I first learnt Yoruba.

I began my PhD at the Department of African Studies and Anthropology in 2009, under the supervision of Professor Karin Barber and Dr Stewart Brown. During the course of my PhD I spent several months in Nigeria, principally at Obafemi Awolowo University and the University of Ibadan, where I undertook archival research as well as further improving my Yoruba. I submitted my PhD in 2014. 

In 2012, I also joined the 'Knowing Each Other' team as a Research Fellow, and I am currently undertaking post-doctoral research as a member of the ‘Knowing Each Other’ team. 

Doctoral research

PhD title 'Writing Domestic Travel in Yoruba and English, Southwestern Nigeria, 1914-2014'


My research interests include:

  • Nigerian print culture, in both Yoruba and English
  • Yoruba culture, history and intellectual history
  • Yoruba language and oral and written literatures
  • Colonial and post-colonial print cultures, especially newspapers
  • Cultural anthropology and the anthropology of texts
  • Nigerian and other African literatures in English
  • Narrative and genre
  • Travel writing and representations of people and places
  • Knowledge of and encounters with others

As a researcher on the ERC project ‘Knowing Each Other,’ I work with the rest of the team to research everyday religious interactions in south-west Nigeria. I particularly work on qualitative and quantitative analysis of fieldwork results, including a large-scale surveys and interviews. I am interested in how knowledge of others is generated through encounters, whether in person or through texts.

My doctoral research was in the field of Yoruba and English print culture in southwestern Nigeria, with a focus on travel writing but in relation to broader forms, genres and media such as novels, newspapers, historical writing and autobiography. My thesis and subsequent publications explore the ways Nigerians have represented the heterogeneity of Nigeria to themselves and to the world, and particularly discuss the relationship between travel and local cosmopolitanisms, narrative, knowledge, texts, genre, translation, migration and the growth of a local Yoruba-English print culture across the twentieth century.  I am currently developing a monograph based on my doctoral research, with additional archival research.

Other activities

I am an Editor of Africa in Words, a blog that focuses on cultural production and Africa. The blog covers books, art, film, history, music, theatre, ideas and people and the ways they interact, through their publication and circulation, with societies, economies and space.


  • Forthcoming: ‘The Sociability of Print: 1920s and 30s Lagos Newspaper Travel Writing’, African Print Cultures ed. by Derek Peterson, Stephanie Newell and Emma Hunter, University of Michigan Press.
  • Forthcoming: ‘Nigeria is my Playground: Pẹlu Awofẹsọ’s Nigerian Travel Writing’ African Research and Documentation.
  • ‘Translation and transformation: travel and intra-national encounter in the Yoruba novel.’ Journal of African Cultural Studies, 27 (3), 2015: 98-113.
  • ‘Journeys to the Hinterland: Twentieth-Century Nigerian Travel Writing and Local Heterogeneity in Lagos and Beyond.’ Postcolonial Text, 9 (4), 2014.
  • 'The Benefits of Travel: Travel Writing in the Lagos Newspapers, 1912-1931', Journal of History and Cultures 2, 2013
  • ‘Lineages and Locations: Nigerian Third Generation Writers and the Idea of Home in Helen Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl and Sefi Atta’s Everything Good Will Come’ African Renaissance, 8 (2), 2011.
  • ‘Review of Akinwumi Iṣola, Efunsetan Aniwura, Iyalode Ibadan and Tinuubu, Iyalode Egba: Two Yoruba Historical Dramas translated by Pamela J. Olubunmi Smith’ African Theatre, June 2011.
  • ‘Review of Brenda Cooper, A New Generation of African Writers’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, March 2010.