Participant Bios

Odirin Victor Abonyi is from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria and holds Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from the Delta State University (DELSU) and the University of Ibadan, respectively. He has completed a contrastive study of the basic clause patterning in English and Urhobo languages using Chomsky’s minimalist syntax. His current study, a dissertation at the level of M.Phil in the Department of English University of Ibadan, focuses on the morphosyntactics of Naija (Nigerian Pidgin) and English languages. He is a Tutorial Assistant at the University of Ibadan and an English Tutor at The International School, Ibadan, Nigeria. He has had a successful stint working as a reporter for the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA Sokoto) and translating written material in English language to Nigerian Pidgin for religious purposes. Among the languages he speaks are Urhobo, Edo, and American Sign Language (ASL). 

Bosede F. Afolayan is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English, University of Lagos, Nigeria. Her areas of specialization are comparative drama, Nollywood studies, African Literature, and women studies. She has published two plays titled Look Back in Gratitude and Once Upon an Elephant.

Felix Oludare Ajiola lectures at the Department of History and Strategic Studies, University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is a budding scholar with keen interest in Economic History, African Studies, Political Economy, Development Studies, and African Historiography.

Dr. Akeem Ayofe Akinwale is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management, University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos State, Nigeria. He was the Sub-Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration, University of Lagos. He is currently the Deputy Coordinator of the Business School of the University of Lagos. He has authored numerous publications including books and articles in reputable journals. His research interests include Industrial Relations, Human Resources Management, and Development Studies. He is a Laureate of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Senior Research Fellow of the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA), an Officer of the Nigerian Young Academy, a member of the International Sociological Association (ISA), and a member of the Nigerian Industrial and Employment Relations Association, among others.  

Benjamin Uchenna Anaemene holds a Ph.D. in diplomatic history from the Department of History and Strategic Studies, University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health, as part of the Governance for Global Health programme. He teaches and conducts research in diplomatic history, global health governance and health diplomacy at both Redeemer’s University and the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and has held both posts prior to joining the UNU-IIGH. He has also spent time at the WHO headquarters, Geneva, conducting research on the role of the WHO in the development of Nigeria’s health sector. Dr. Anaemene has carried out several studies which include the impact of health diplomacy on regional integration particularly in West Africa and the influence of health diplomacy on public policy in Nigeria. His research interests are mainly on global health governance, health diplomacy, and health policy. He has published several articles in peer reviewed journals.

Dr. F.G. Aworawo is a Lecturer in the Department of History and Strategic Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos, Nigeria. Aworawo is a researcher with profound in Nigerian and African History, Historiography. Aworawo is also an expert in Defense and Strategic Studies, war, Conflict Resolution and development studies.

Anouk Batard is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology, Political Science and Information & Communication Science. She is affiliated with the Laboratoire des Sciences Sociales du Politique (LaSSP), Institut d’Études Politiques, University of Toulouse, France. She is the author of Struggles for legitimation in the formation of Nollywood as a field of popular cultural production, in Jedlowski A. and Santanera G. (eds), Lagos Calling, Nollywood e la reinvenzione del cinema in Africa (Rome: Aracne), forthcoming. She is currently a lecturer at the IUT Sciences de l’Information et de la Communication – Journalisme, University of Nice, France.

Dr. Naluwembe Binaisa is a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany. Her current research focuses on Lagos, Nigeria and explores the relationship between diversities, urbanization and mobile communication technologies and their intersections with livelihoods, leisure and social mobilisation. The project aims to advance theoretical and empirical understandings of how in this mega-city social, political and economic spaces are being disrupted, re-formed, re-inscribed and networked; from micro-geographies to wider national, regional and transnational spaces. Prior to joining Max Planck Naluwembe was based at the International Migration Institute, Oxford Department of International in Development, University of Oxford working on two projects: Mobility in the African Great Lakes and African Diasporas within Africa, part of the Oxford Diasporas Programme funded by the Leverhulme Trust. Naluwembe has previously worked on several multi-disciplinary collaborative projects that focus on Africa<>Europe diasporas. Her research interests include development, identity, gender and generation dynamics, integration processes informed by perspectives from the global South. She has published her work in international refereed journals including, Journal of Ethnic and Migration StudiesEthnic and Racial StudiesJournal of Intercultural Studies and Mobilities

Elisa Dainese is an architect and a historian. She is currently a lecturer and Marie Curie post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in the History of Art Department. Her post-doctoral research, granted by a three-year Marie Curie International fellowship and funded by the EU, explores the key role that sub-Saharan architecture played in the development of European and US architecture in the period after World War II. In 2012, she obtained a Ph.D. in Architectural Design from the IUAV University of Venice, with a dissertation focused on post-war architecture, Team Ten, Aldo van Eyck, and the fascination for Dogon art and architecture of Mali (Africa). She started her career as EU-licensed architect in the Atelier of Prof. Arch. Boris Podrecca (Wien, Austria) and in the Italian office of Prof. Arch. Aurelio Galfetti (Lugano, Switzerland) where she worked on public and private projects of urban and architectural design. Dr. Dainese is the author of articles and essays published in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (Dec 2015), New Urban Configurations (2014), Nuove qualità del vivere in periferia (2013), Landscape and Imagination (2013), and Catalogo della Mostra Internazionale Triennale d’Architettura Milano (2012). She has participated in numerous international conferences in the US and Europe (Italy, the Netherlands, France, and Portugal), and she has given several lectures in different continents. She is a colloquium member of the Humanities+Urbanism+Design initiative, sponsored by the Mellon Foundation at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative initiative, supported by the Mellon Foundation at MIT. Dr Dainese served as co-curator of both the Venice Biennale of Architecture (2010), IUAV AFRICA – Rwanda Pavilion, and the Milan Triennale of Architecture (2013) where she focused on World Architecture.

Lanre Davies was born and bred in Lagos, Nigeria. He attended the Ogun State University between 1982 and 1986 where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. He later proceeded to the University of Lagos in 1991, where he graduated with a Master of Arts degree in History in 1992. Much later, in 2004, he registered for a Ph.D. programme in History in the Department of History and Strategic Studies, University of Lagos, Nigeria, which he completed in 2009. He has since 1995 been a university teacher in the Department of History and Diplomatic studies, Ogun State University, Ago-Iwoye, Nigeria, now Olabisi Onabanjo University, where he is presently a Senior Lecturer. His interest is in land and urban history, with a focus on Lagos and Abeokuta. He is married with children.

Tunde Decker is Senior Lecturer in History and International Studies, Osun State University, Osogbo, Nigeria. He holds B.A. (Hons.), M.A., MILD and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and has conducted studies on the historical study of the phenomenon of poverty, development paradigms, and transport. Dr. Tunde Decker was recipient of the Travel Fellowship of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland, and the Travel Fellowship of the African Studies Association, United Kingdom.

Simidele Dosekun is a postdoctoral fellow in qualitative methodology at the London School of Economics. Her research concerns new styles of feminine dress and subjectivity among young, class-privileged Lagosian women.

Kimberli Gant is the Mellon Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Arts of Global Africa at the Newark Museum. She is also a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas Austin pursuing research on photographic depictions of Lagos, Nigeria. Kimberli’s curatorial experience includes: The Contemporary Austin (2012), UT’s Warfield Center for African & African Diaspora Studies (2013), Deutsche Bank America in New York (2010) and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA) in Brooklyn, New York where she was the Curator of Exhibitions and Public Programs (2005-2010). Kimberli’s work has been published in academic books such as Anywhere But Here: Black Intellectuals in the Atlantic World and Beyond (2015), art publications such as Art Lies and African Arts, and exhibition catalogues for The Contemporary Austin, the Studio Museum of Harlem and the Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos.

Olubukola A. Gbadegesin is an assistant professor in Art History and African American Studies at Saint Louis University. She has published in African Arts, History of Photography and Critical Interventions: Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture. She is currently working on a book manuscript titled Picturing Modern Selves in Colonized Places: Photography as a Strategy of Power in Lagos, Nigeria. Her broad research interests center on photography, portraiture, politics of representation, and print culture in Africa and the Diaspora.

Jonathan Haynes is Professor of English at Long Island University in Brooklyn. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fulbright Senior Scholar. He wrote Cinema and Social Change in West Africa (1995) with Onookome Okome and edited Nigerian Video Films (1997, 2000) and a special issue of Journal of African Cinemas (2012). His new book Nollywood: The Creation of Nigerian Film Genres is forthcoming from University of Chicago Press.

Dr. Simon Heap works at the Examination Schools of Oxford University. He is the long-standing editor of the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) newsletter. With degrees from the University of Cambridge and SOAS, Simon was awarded a doctorate from the University of Ibadan on The Liquor Trade and the Nigerian Economy, 1880–1939, funded by a Leverhulme Trust Study Abroad Studentship. Returning from Nigeria, Simon then held the Antony Kirk-Greene Junior Research Fellowship at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. After working in the nongovernmental organizational (NGO) sector for 15 years, Simon was the first holder of the Britain-Nigeria Educational Trust Commonwealth Fellowship in 2011 back at his alma mater, the University of Ibadan. One of his latest works is Processing Juvenile Delinquents at the Salvation Army’s Boys’ Industrial Home in Lagos, 1925–1944, in Saheed Aderinto (ed.), Children and Childhoods in Colonial Nigerian Histories (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015).

Dima Hurlbut is a doctoral student in the African history program at Boston University. He received his B.A. from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. His primary research interests center around the history of Christianity in Nigeria, while his current research focuses on the emergence of Mormonism in Nigeria.

Oluwasinaayomi Faith Kasim (Ph.D.) is a lecturer at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Ibadan. Currently on CIRCLE Post-Doctoral Fellowship with Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA) Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Vivian Chenxue Lu is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at Stanford University. Her research interests surround the politics of contemporary mercantile work and commercial platforms of late capitalism. Her current research project focuses on the notable, and at times notorious, presence and work of young Igbo Nigerian merchants in contemporary production and trade sites of everyday goods (i.e. clothes, electronics, building materials) across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. She studied Anthropology and African Studies for her Bachelor of Arts degree at Columbia University.

Ben Mendelsohn is a Ph.D. candidate in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, where his research focuses on urban infrastructure, landscape, and experimental documentary film. His writing has appeared in Public Books and The Brooklyn Rail, and his video work has been featured by The Atlantic, Gizmodo, and Wired among others.

Dr Xavier Moyet was initially trained in the fields of History, Sociology and Ethnology. He received a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from EHESS (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris) with a thesis about Pentecostalism and the media in Nigeria and Ghana. He was also press attaché at the French Embassy in the Republic of Benin. He completed his education with a post-doctorate at UQÀM (Montréal, Canada). As a scholar, he has a keen interest in contemporary religion, particularly in relation to Nollywood or the Internet. He is now the Director of IFRA Nigeria (Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique) and an Associate Fellow of the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ibadan. In addition, he is a Fellow of the Institut des Mondes Africains (Université Paris-Sorbonne) and the Deputy-Director of USR 3336 of CNRS (the French National Center for Scientific Research).

Ng’ang’a Muchiri completed his doctoral studies at the University of Miami. His research in Eastern African land rights is the subject of a current manuscript project titled Writing on the Soil: Literature’s Influence on E. African Land Rights. He has previously published work on Gender and Land Rights in the second edition of the Encyclopedia of World Poverty (2015). His contributions to edited anthologies include: A Nation of One’s Own: Fictional Indictment of Cannibalistic African States in African Dictator Fictions (2014) and Performance: Popular Culture as the People’s Intervention in Dictatorial Regimes in Dany Laferrière: Essays on His Work (2013). He is a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Duke University, Durham, NC., where he teaches a course titled “Consuming African Cities.” The class empowers students to ask profound, interesting, and creative questions that advance our understanding of the continent’s urban life.

Kányinsọ́lá Ọbáyàn is a Ph.D. Student in Africana Studies at Cornell University. Her research primarily focuses on coloniality and violence; gender, feminism and sexuality; globalization, transnationalism and Diaspora. She hopes to use these dynamic conceptualizations as a way to read meaning into the socio-political environment of post-independence Nigeria and imagine alternative possibilities for its future.

David Mautin Oke obtained his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Ibadan. He won a Ph.D. thesis writing scholarship of the African Economic Research Consortium based in Nairobi, Kenya. He also won a Ph.D. Scholarship of the Lagos State Government. His research areas are majorly in energy economics, monetary economics/macroeconomics, and organizational efficiency cum productivity. Presently, he lectures at the Department of Economics of the University of Lagos. David is happily married with children and is an associate pastor and theologian.

Rosemary Okoh is a doctoral candidate in the department of history, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

James Okolie-Osemene is a Research Fellow, IFRA-Nigeria. He holds Master of Arts degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from University of Ibadan and Bachelor of Arts degree in History and International Studies from Imo State University, Owerri. He is presently undertaking doctoral studies with focus on human rights violations. He is widely published in local and international peer reviewed scholarly journals and contributed chapters to several books. He is Associate Member of the Society for Peace Studies and Practice. His areas of research interest include international relations, development studies, strategic studies with high interest in peace education, violence research, and post-conflict peace-building.

Shobande Olatunji is a much-admired, award winning economist, writer and philosopher. A voice of the poor and malnourished, tirelessly engrossed in the problems of the society’s poorest people, he has devised practical solutions on fiscal and monetary policies in the Nigeria economy. Currently a Ph.D. student at the Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Science, University of Lagos, Nigeria. Previously, Shobande has a First Class degree in Economics from Caleb University and Distinction in M.Sc. Economics at the University of Lagos.

Paul Ayodele Osifodurin teaches in the Department of History and Strategic Studies, University of Lagos, Nigeria. His books include Armed Robbery in Postcolonial Lagos, 1960–2007 (UNIOSUN, 2007), In the Service of God and Humanity: St. Peter’s Church (Faji) Lagos, 1853–2003 (University of Lagos Press, 2003, co-authored), and The Third Wave of Historical Scholarship on Nigeria: Essays in Honor of Ayodeji Olukoju (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012, co-edited). He is the author of The Cradle: A History of Holy Trinity Church, Ebute-Ero, 1852-2012 (University of Lagos Press, forthcoming). His articles have also appeared in notable local and international journals. In addition to numerous honours and awards, Osifodunrin is the recipient of the African Humanities Programme Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded by the American Council of Learned Societies.

Adedamola Osinulu teaches Liberal Studies at New York University. He holds a Ph.D. in Culture and Performance from UCLA, and also earned a degree in Architecture from the University of Houston. His research is focused on cultural production in African cities.  Most recently, he has been investigating the efflorescence of Pentecostal Christianity in West African cities. His ongoing book project, City Aflame: Making Pentecostal Space in Lagos, is based on extensive fieldwork at three massive Pentecostal sites on the outskirts of Lagos, Nigeria. In that work, he postulates a connection between the sense of efficacy Pentecostals ascribe to these sites and the spatial practices of the city.

Susan Rosenfeld is a Ph.D. Candidate in the UCLA Department of History. Her research focuses on the on-the-ground interactions between Afro-Brazilian retornados and the local Yoruba community in Lagos, Nigeria. It examines how these interactions altered the landscape of Lagos as an urban hub on the Atlantic circuit.

Alice E. Sala is a 2006 graduate in Anthropology of the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland) with an original and claimed MA Thesis, Alice au pays des prostituées (trad: Alice in Prosituteland). During her studies, she acquired a passion for Gender Studies and Visual Anthropology, and as a self-taught video-maker, she is particularly interested in the power of images and academic elitist language in the reproduction of social order. From 2006 to 2012, she freelanced on different projects joining anthropology and video on different topics: development-aid issues (creation of visual archives on 50 years of development studies in Geneva), migration (director assistant on the awarded documentary movie The Fortress), and teaching innovations (co-developer of the online learning platform SELIN for observation sciences and inductive approach). These all fed her ongoing questioning of society’s structures, power relationships, and categorization processes on both micro and macro level. In 2008, Alice traveled as an Africa-Fist-Timer to Lagos, a city that literally washing-machined the young curious Swiss woman she was. Since 2010, she has traveled regularly to Lagos and finally relocated to the city in 2014. She has been a Ph.D. student in Economic Anthropology, University of Neuchâtel, since 2012. Her work focuses on informal transnational trading networks of used computers, based on intense multi-sited fieldwork in Lagos and Guangzhou and (forthcoming) USA.

Nozomi Sawada holds a doctoral degree in African Studies from the University of Birmingham, with a dissertation on the history of associational activities and their representations in early African-owned newspapers in colonial Lagos (supervisors: Professor Karin Barber and Dr. Insa Nolte). Her primary focus has been on early print culture in British West Africa, and the way in which newspapers were utilized as a tool for expressing African agency and reconstructing the social history of colonial Nigeria. She worked as an Assistant Professor (Jokyo) at the Center for Global Communication Strategies at the University of Tokyo between October 2013 and March 2016, before accepting the position of lecturer at the Department of English, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Komazawa University, Tokyo, in April 2016. Her recent publications include A Re-examination of Pioneering Newspaper Enterprises in 1860s and 1880s Southwestern Nigeria, in Journal of Swahili and African Studies 26 (Osaka University, 2015) and Selecting ‘Worthy’ of Remembering: Memorialisation in early Lagos Newspapers, in Journal of West African History 2 (Michigan State University, forthcoming 2016).

Halimat Somotan is a third-year doctoral student in the African History program at Columbia University. Her research interests are in urban histories, history of medicine, print culture, and 19th/20th century Nigerian history. She received her B.A. in History and Theatre Arts from Fairfield University in 2012. At Columbia, She serves as the rapporteur for the Studies in Contemporary Africa seminar and a Peer Teaching Consultant Fellow (2015-2016) at the Columbia GSAS Teaching Center.

Adedoyin Teriba specializes in modern architecture globally with particular interests in the built environments of Anglophone West Africa, Northeastern Brazil, and the American South. Other research pursuits include the relationship between phenomenology and the historiography of architecture as well as virtual architectural design studios using the Cloud. His dissertation, Architecture & Afro-Brazilian Ideals in Southwest Nigeria (1890s-1940s), investigates how Afro-Brazilian settlers in the region designed funerary, religious, and residential architecture for the African immigrant merchants and local rulers alike. Adedoyin is an architect who has worked for both architectural and construction management firms in New York, New Jersey, and Nigeria. In addition, he is an artist whose portfolio includes landscape paintings in watercolor, gouache, oil pastel, ink and charcoal, and pencil, sometimes mixing those media in the same artwork. He has also done architectural renderings for construction management firms in New York City. In the past, he has led architectural tours of downtown Lagos, Nigeria, for U.S. consular officials, and was an architecture critic for He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Federal University of Technology Minna, Nigeria, a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Oklahoma, as well as an Master of Arts degree in Art History from Princeton University. He served as a curatorial assistant at the Princeton University Art Museum in 2009, working on the exhibition Life Objects: Rites of Passage in African Art. His dissertation research has been supported by fellowships from the Center for Cultural and Art Policy Studies and the Program of Latin American Studies at Princeton University, as well as its Department of Art and Archaeology.

James Tar Tsaaior is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Mass Media and Writing in the School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic (formerly Pan-African) University, Lagos, Nigeria, where he teaches creative writing, media/cultural studies, and postcolonial literature. He is the University’s Director of Academic Planning and editor of the Journal of Cultural and Media Studies. Between 2010 and 2011, he was a visiting Leverhulme Trust and Isaac Newton Research Fellow, Centre of African Studies, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, and a participant in the International Faculty Programme, University of Navarre’s IESE Business School, Barcelona, Spain. He was also a visiting scholar, Centre for African American Studies, Princeton University, New Jersey, USA. His recent publications include African Literature and the Politics of Culture (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013), and Politics of the Postcolonial Text: Africa and Its Diasporas (LimCom Europa, 2010), in addition to over fifty chapters in books and articles in local and international peer-reviewed journals.

Edet Thomas is a History Graduate Student at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Olusegun Stephen Titus is a scholar of African Musicology and Music for Development. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (2000) and Master of Arts (2006) in Music from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Olusegun holds certificates in Conflict Negotiation and Mediation Processes, Peace Journalism, and a doctoral degree in African Music from the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria (2013). He is a Fellow of IFRA-Nigeria, Leventis Fellow, and a visiting scholar, Centre for African Studies, SOAS, University of London, UK. His ongoing research is Peace and Security through advocacy and edutainment among youths and community leaders in Kogi State. He is currently a lecturer at the Department of Music, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.

Dr Paul Ugor is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Illinois State University, Normal. His research interests are in Anglophone African literatures and cultures, African popular arts, global youth cultures, and postcolonial theory. His most recent works include an edited book of essays, Globalizing the African Youth: Challenges, Agency and Resistance (Ashgate 2015) and his single-authored monograph, Nollywood: Popular Culture and Narratives of Marginalized Youth in Nigeria (Carolina Academic Press, 2016, forthcoming).

Allen Xiao is a Ph.D. student in Geography (with a minor in African Studies) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His previous research focused on Chinese migration to Nigeria, which has been published in Politique Africane (2014) and Journal of Current Chinese Affairs (2015). Now his interests lie in the making of multi-ethnic Lagos and shifting Yorùbá identities to the place-identities.