‘Civil Disorder is the Disease of Ibadan’ — 2003

Chieftaincy and Civic Culture in a Yoruba City

By Ruth Watson

“This is a brilliant and original reinterpretation of Ibadan’s political past, addressing for the first time the question of how the city’s civic culture was constituted and how it changed between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries.…Watson shows apparently effortless mastery of highly complex data.…A really beautifully crafted and lucidly written book.”

Karin Barber — Centre for West African Studies, University of Birmingham

“There is far too much texture in Watson’s work to do justice to it in this brief review. She skillfully weaves together the social and political contexts of Ibadan’s history to highlight just how complex the city’s reality was. Also, her deft use of documentary, linguistic, and oral sources reflects a keen grasp of relevant methodologies.”

African Studies Review

Civil Disorder Is the Disease of the Ibadan is a study of chieftaincy and political culture in Ibadan, the most populous city in Britain’s largest West African colony, Nigeria. Examining the period between 1829 and 1939, it shows how and why the processes through which Ibadan was made into a civic community shifted from the battlefield to a discursive field.

Ruth Watson is a lecturer in history at Birkbeck College, University of London

Cover of '‘Civil Disorder is the Disease of Ibadan’'


  • The Britain-Nigerian Association Newsletter, May 2006
  • School of Oriental and African Studies Bulletin, Vol. 68/3, October 2006
  • American Historical Review, October 2005
  • African Affairs, Vol. 104, July 2005
  • African History, Vol. 46, 2005
  • ARAS Australia, Vol. XXVI, No. 1, June 2004
  • History, Vol. 89, No. 295, July 2004
  • American Historical Review, October 2005
  • African Studies Review, Vol. 49, No. 3, Dec. 2006

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