The articles in this special section, organized by Abosede George, Saheed Aderinto, and Ademide Adelusi-Adeluyi, were presented at the first Lagos conference at Barnard College. Each addresses a piece of Lagos that exists as much, or far more, in the imaginary as it does in the real world. Although the first conference was, as one attendee observed, more pepperfarm than megacity, which is to say that it reflected a bias toward more distant eras in Lagos history, the contributions to this issue cover a variety of eras in Lagos history. As this introduction notes, while projects on the megacity tend to be concerned with the logics of disorder and instability in Lagos, more historical projects tend to consider Lagos through local lenses and reflect on the centrality of notions of modernity and urbanity to indigenous conceptualizations of the city.
Introduction: The Imaginative Capital of Lagos
Abosede George is an associate professor of history at Barnard College and Columbia University in New York. She teaches courses in urban history, the history of childhood and youth in Africa, and the study of women, gender, and sexuality in African history. Her book, Making Modern Girls: A History of Girlhood, Labor, and Social Development, was published in 2014 by Ohio University Press and received the Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize in 2015 from the Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association, as well as honorable mention from the New York African Studies Association. She is currently at work on the Ekopolitan Project, a digital forum dedicated to historical sources on migrant communities in nineteenth-and twentieth-century Lagos, West Africa.