SOAS University of London

African Languages, Cultures and Literatures Section

Professor Graham Furniss, OBE

BA, PhD(London), FBA
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Graham Furniss
African Languages, Cultures and Literatures Section

Emeritus Professor

Professor Graham Furniss, OBE
Email address:
Curriculum Vitae:
Prof Furniss CV for SOAS 2019 (pdf; 283kb)


Graham served as Pro-Director of SOAS between 2008-13 having previously held positions as RAE Director and Faculty Dean amongst others. His association with SOAS began as an undergraduate and later a research student. He returned to SOAS as a member of staff in 1979 from a post at the University of Maiduguri in Nigeria. He is a Fellow of the British Academy where he currently chairs its Africa Panel. He was the first editor of the Journal of African Cultural Studies and the founding President of the International Society for Oral Literature in Africa (ISOLA). He is a Trustee of the Britain-Nigeria Educational Trust and a Governor of the Harrow School Foundation. Graham was awarded an OBE for services to higher education and scholarship in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2013.

  • Commissioner of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission
Trustee of the following:
  • Harrow School Foundation
  • John Lyon Charity
  • Britain-Nigeria Educational Trust



African language literature; comparative African literature; Hausa language, linguistics and literature; Nigerian culture and language issues; Oral Literature


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Available for
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Briefings
  • Special Study Programmes
  • Short Term Consultancy
  • Long Term Consultancy
Regional Expertise
  • Africa
Country Expertise


Authored Books

Furniss, Graham and Buba, Malami and Burgess, William (2004) Bibliography of Hausa Popular Fiction 1987-2002. Koeln: Ruediger Koeppe Verlag.

Furniss, Graham (2004) Orality: the Power of the Spoken Word. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampsphire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Furniss, Graham (1996) Poetry, Prose and Popular Culture in Hausa. Washington: Smithsonian; Edinburgh: EUP; Ibadan: IUP.

Furniss, Graham (1995) Ideology in Practice: Hausa Poetry as Exposition of Values and Viewpoints. Cologne: Ruediger Koeppe Verlag.

Furniss, Graham (1991) Second Level Hausa: Grammar in Action. London: SOAS.


Fardon, Richard and Furniss, Graham (2021) 'The histories of an enlightened ruler: Malam Muhamman Bitemya Sambo, Garbosa II of Donga, Central Nigeria'. Vestiges: Traces of Record, (7) 2, pp 28-61.

Furniss, Graham and Uba Adamu, Abdalla (2012) '"Go by appearances at your peril": the Raina Kama writers' association in Kano, Nigeria, carving out a place for the "popular" in the Hausa literary landscape.'. Research in African Literatures, (43) 4, pp 88-111.

Furniss, Graham (2011) 'On engendering liberal values in the Nigerian colonial state: the idea behind the Gaskiya Corporation'. The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, (39) 1, pp 69-93.

Furniss, Graham (2008) 'On the multiple dimensions of memory in the oral communicative moment'. Cahiers de litterature orale, (63/64), pp 127-144.

Furniss, Graham (2007) 'The future of UK-Africa collaboration in Humanities and Social Science research'. African Research and Documentation, (102), pp 3-12.

Furniss, Graham and Barber, Karin (2006) 'African-Language Writing'. Research in African Literatures, (37 (3)), pp 1-14.

Furniss, Graham (2005) 'Video and the Hausa Novella in Nigeria'. Social Identities, (11) 2, pp 89-112.

Furniss, Graham (2005) 'Sulle implicazioni dell’oralità'. afriche e orienti, (vol. 4).

Furniss, Graham (2005) 'Higher education in Africa: the Commission for Africa'. Review of African Political Economy, (vol.10), pp 446-9.

Furniss, Graham and Buba, Malami (1999) 'Youth culture, Bandiri, and the continuing legitimacy debate in Sokoto town'. Journal of African Cultural Studies, (12) 1, pp 27-46.

Furniss, Graham (1998) 'Hausa creative writing in the 1930s: an exploration in post colonial theory'. Research in African Literatures, (29, 1), pp 87-102.

Furniss, Graham and Ahmad, S. B. (1994) 'Pattern, interaction and the non-dialogic in performance by Hausa rap artists'. Oral Tradition, (9, 1), pp 113-35.

Furniss, Graham and Hunwick, John (1994) 'Mervyn Hiskett, 1920-1994'. Sudanic Africa, (5), pp 1-6.

Furniss, Graham (1992) 'Oral culture and the making of meaning'. African Affairs, (91), pp 271-6.

Furniss, Graham (1992) 'A note on Hausa literature and R C Abraham'. African Languages and Cultures, Supp. 1, pp 43-50.

Furniss, Graham (1991) ''De la fantaisie a la realite dans la litterature haoussa en prose' suivi de 'Pourquoi etudier la poesie haoussa?''. Travaux et Documents (CEAN - Bordeaux), (31), pp 1-21.

Furniss, Graham (1991) 'Hausa poetry on the Nigerian civil war'. African Languages and Cultures, (4, 1), pp 21-8.

Furniss, Graham (1991) 'An early twentieth-century Hausa song: 'Wakar kuyangin Sokoto''. Harsunan Nijeriya, (16), pp 47-60.

Furniss, Graham and Jaggar, Philip J. (1991) 'Professor Jack Carnochan: a biographical note'. York Papers in Linguistics, (15), pp 281-284.

Furniss, Graham (1990) 'Fitila, une nouvelle revue radicale haoussa'. Politique Africaine, (37), pp 102-7.

Edited Books or Journals

Finnegan, Ruth and Furniss, Graham and Orwin, Martin, (eds.), (2011) Carried by a Mystic Wind: B. W. Andrzejewski on the Somali Passion for Poetry and Language. London: Taylor and Francis. (Special Issue of Journal of African Cultural Studies; Vol.23 no.1).

Fardon, Richard and Furniss, Graham, (eds.), (2000) African Broadcast Cultures: Radio in Transition. Oxford: J. Currey.

Duran, Lucy and Furniss, Graham, (eds.), (1999) Sunjata: Gambian Versions of the Mande Epic. New York and London: Penguin Classics.

Duran, Lucy and Furniss, Graham, (eds.), (1999) Sunjata, Gambian versions of the Mande epic by Bamba Suso and Banna Kanuteh. London: Penguin.

Furniss, Graham and Gunner, Liz, (eds.), (1995) Power, Marginality and African Oral Literature. Cambridge: CUP; Johannesburg: Wits Press.

Fardon, Richard and Furniss, Graham, (eds.), (1994) African Languages, Development and the State. London: Routledge.

Book Chapters

Furniss, Graham (2011) 'Analysing imagery: comments from short-form verbal art in Hausa'. In: Lohr, Doris and Rothmaler, Eva and Ziegelmeyer, Georg, (eds.), Kanuri, Borno and Beyond: Current Studies on the Lake Chad Region. Cologne: Ruediger Koeppe Verlag, pp 65-76.

Furniss, Graham (2006) 'Innovation and Persistence: Literary Circles, New Opportunities, and Continuing Debates in Hausa Literary Production'. In: Barber, Karin, (ed.), Africa's Hidden Histories. Everyday Literacy and Making the Self. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, pp 416-34.

Furniss, Graham (2005) 'On the implications of orality'. In: Ricard, A and Veit-Wild, F, (eds.), Interfaces Between the Oral and the Written: Versions and Subversions in African Literature. Amsterdam: Rodopi (Netherlands), pp 267-90.

Furniss, Graham (2005) 'Reflections on the UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage'. In: Derive, J and Baumgardt, U, (eds.), Paroles nomades: écrits d'ethnolinguistique africaine. Paris: Karthala, pp 31-44.

Furniss, Graham (2005) 'Creativity and Rhetoric [and] Création et rhétorique'. In: Dauphin-Tinturier, A-M and Derive, J, (eds.), Oralité africaine et création. Paris: Karthala (France), pp 71-91, 663.

Furniss, Graham (2004) 'George Percy Bargery'. In: H.C.G.Matthew, , (ed.), New Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press (Oxford), pp 806-7.

Furniss, Graham (2004) 'Introduction to Hausa popular fiction'. In: Furniss, Graham and Buba, Malami and Burgess, William, (eds.), Bibliography of Hausa Popular Fiction 1987-2002. Cologne: Ruediger Koeppe Verlag, pp 1-19.

Furniss, Graham (2003) 'Akilu Aliyu [and] Abubakar Imam [and] Bello Kagara [and] Abubakar Tafawa Balewa'. In: Gikandi, S, (ed.), Encyclopedia of African Literature. Routledge (London), pp 18, 237, 254, 530.

Furniss, Graham (2003) 'Contemporary bards: Hausa verbal artists'. In: Peek, P and Yankah, K, (eds.), African Folklore: an Encyclopedia. Garland (New York), pp 71-2.

Furniss, Graham (2002) 'Commentary upon Paul Newman's "Grades, vowel-tone classes and extensions in the Hausa verbal system"'. In: Newman, Paul and Jaggar, Phil and Wolff, H. Ekkehard, (eds.), Chadic and Hausa Linguistics: Selected papers of Paul Newman with Commentaries. Cologne: Ruediger Koeppe Verlag, pp 65-6.

Furniss, Graham (2001) 'Meaning and performance: gradations in the expression of disapproval in Hausa'. In: Ibriszimow, D and Leger, R and Seibert, U, (eds.), Von Aegypten Zum Tschadsee: Eine Linguistische Reise Durch Afrika. Ergon Verlag (Wurzburg), pp 171-177.

Furniss, Graham (2001) 'Language, truth and rhetoric in the constitution of orality'. In: Kaschula, R, (ed.), African Oral Literature: Functions in Contemporary Contexts. New Africa Books (Cape Town), pp 191-203.

Furniss, Graham (2000) 'African Literature: Introduction [and] West African Literature'. In: France, P, (ed.), The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation. Oxford University Press (Oxford), pp 127-129, 132-134.

Furniss, Graham (2000) 'Documenting Kano 'market' literature'. In: Barringer, T.A., (ed.), Africa Bibliography 1998. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp 7-23.

Furniss, Graham and Fardon, Richard (2000) 'African broadcast cultures'. African Broadcast Cultures: Radio in Transition. Oxford: James Currey, pp 1-20.

Furniss, Graham (1997) 'Hausa literature'. In: Middleton, John, (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, pp 8-9.

Furniss, Graham and Boyd, Jean (1996) 'Mobilise the people: the qasida in Fulfulde and Hausa as purposive literature'. In: Sperl, Stefan and Shackle, Christopher, (eds.), Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa, Vol. 1: Classical Traditions and Modern Meanings. Leiden: Brill, pp 429-449.

Furniss, Graham (1996) 'Ma'ama'are'. In: Sperl, Stefan and Shackle, Christopher, (eds.), Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa, Vol 2: Eulogy's Bounty, Meaning's Abundance. An Anthology. Leiden: Brill, pp 372-87.

Furniss, Graham (1995) 'The power of words and the relations between Hausa genres'. In: Furniss, Graham and Gunner, Liz, (eds.), Power, Marginality and African Oral Literature. Cambridge: CUP; Johannesburg : Wits Press, pp 130-44.

Furniss, Graham and Gunner, Liz (1995) 'Power, marginality and oral literature'. In: Furniss, Graham and Gunner, Liz, (eds.), Power, Marginality and African Oral Literature. Cambridge: CUP; Johannesburg: Wits Press, pp 1-19.

Furniss, Graham (1995) 'The Hausa contractor: the image of an entrepreneur'. In: Ellis, S and Faure, Y, (eds.), Entreprises et entrepreneurs africains. Paris: Karthala, pp 229-38.

Furniss, Graham and Fardon, Richard (1994) 'Frontiers and boundaries - African languages as political environment'. In: Fardon, Richard and Furniss, Graham, (eds.), African Languages, Development and the State. London: Routledge, pp 1-32.

Furniss, Graham (1993) 'Hausa poetry'. In: Preminger, Alex and Brogan, T. V. F., (eds.), The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, pp 496-497.

Furniss, Graham (1991) 'Standards in speech, spelling and style - the Hausa case'. In: Cyffer, N and Schubert, K and Weier, H-I, (eds.), Language Standardization in Africa. Hamburg: Helmut Buske, pp 97-110.

Furniss, Graham (1991) 'Burlesque in Hausa: 'And my text for today is food' said Mr Matches'. In: Baxter, Paul and Fardon, Richard, (eds.), Voice, Genre, Text: Anthropological Essays in Africa and Beyond. John Rylands University Library of Manchester, pp 37-62.

Furniss, Graham (1991) 'Hausa language studies: the present'. In: Rufai, Abba, (ed.), Nigerian Languages Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Centre for the Study of Nigerian Languages, pp 19-25.


Furniss, Graham and Fardon, Richard (2021) 'History and Customs of the Chamba M. S. Garbosa II (Gara Donga)' Vestiges: Traces of Record, (7) 2, pp 62-159.


This list was last generated on Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 09:56 Europe/London.