Dr Insa Nolte

Dr Insa Nolte

Department of African Studies and Anthropology
Reader in African Studies

Contact details

Address
Arts Building
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

My research focuses on the importance of private and everyday life for wider social relations and political processes in the Yoruba-speaking Southwest of Nigeria. My current work centres on encounters and relations between Yoruba Muslims, Christians, and traditionalists, and explores religion and gender in multi-religious marriages and family life.

The study of the relationship between the personal and the political over time means that I am committed to interdisciplinary methodologies across the boundary between history and anthropology. In order to drive forward the study of everyday engagement with religious multiplicity my research also includes multi-disciplinary approaches based on survey data and corpus linguistics. 

Feedback and office hours

I am available to students interested in Nigeria and on religious encounter on request.

Qualifications

  • Diplomvolkswirtin FUBerlin
  • PhD Birmingham

Biography

After a first degree at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, I joined the Centre of West African Studies (now DASA) as a PhD student to work on the history and politics of Remo under the supervision of Paulo de Moraes Farias and Karin Barber. After my graduation, I held the Kirk-Greene Junior Research Fellowship at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and I returned to DASA to take up a lectureship in 2001. In 2015 I was promoted to Reader.

In 2012 I also joined the Department of History and International Studies at Osun State University, Nigeria, as a Visiting Professor.

I am currently the Vice Chair of the UK Council of Area Studies Associations (UKCASA), and the President of the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK).

Teaching

I am currently offering some teaching on the graduate module ‘Research and Methods in African Studies’, which is coordinated by Dr Benedetta Rossi

Postgraduate supervision

I supervise students on African and Nigerian history, politics and development. I currently supervise these PhD students:

  • Amy Redgrave: Struggles over Prostitution in Southern Nigeria: Colonial Anxieties and Local Debates, 1890-1960

Past PhD students include

  • Plangsat Dayil: Etho-religious conflict and Women in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria
  • Dr Leena Hoffmann: Big men and the big pot at the centre: Patronage politics and democracy in Nigeria
  • Dr Nozomi Sawada: The Educated Elite and associational life in Early Lagos Newspapers: In Search of Unity for the Progress of Society
  • Dr Obinna Okwelume: The Effects of the Mass Media on Attitudes to the Osu Caste System in Eastern Nigeria
  • Dr Beatrice Duncan: Land use, gender and cocoa farming in Ghana
  • Dr Juliana Mafwil: Women’s empowerment in the Nigerian agricultural sector
  • Sulaiman Yusef Balarabe Kura: Political parties and democratisation in Nigeria
  • Dr Comfort Davis: Igala women traders and micro-credit enterprise in Jos, Nigeria
  • Dr Afua Twum-Danso: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the economic, social and historical dimensions of childhood in Africa, and
  • Dr Justina Dugbazah:Gender, migration and rural livelihoods in Ghana: a Case study of the Ho District).

I am delighted that many of my former PhD students have moved on to work in British and African universities as well as national and international organizations, including the UN.

Research

My research emphasises the importance of everyday encounters and interpersonal relationships for wider social and political processes West African, Nigerian and especially Yoruba history and society, and has been supported by different UK and international funding agencies. My first book, entitled Obafemi Awolowo and the Making of Remo: The local politics of a Nigerian Nationalist examines power and consent in the history of a distinctive region of Southwest Nigeria, which produced Nigeria’s most important Yoruba politician. I am the lead editor (with Olukoya Ogen and Rebecca Jones) of Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslims, Christians and Traditionalists in an African Town (2017, James Currey/ Boydell and Brewer), and I am currently writing a second monograph on Muslim-Christian marriages and family relationships in southwest Nigeria.

I am currently the PI of an ERC Grant is entitled 'Knowing Each Other: everyday religious encounters, social identities and tolerance in southwest Nigeria' and based both at the University of Birmingham in the UK, and at Osun State University (UNIOSUN) in Nigeria. It centres on the everyday lives of Yoruba Muslims, Christians and traditionalists, and it explores the way in which religious differences and encounters inform social identities shaped by gender, generation, and education etc. (for more information, see our project website and blog and follow us on facebook and on twitter (link: @KEONigeria,)

Other activities

I am the President of the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK), which represents all Africanists in the UK.  The ASAUK will hold its next biennial conference at the University of Birmingham on 11-13 September 2018. I am also the Vice Chair of the United Kingdom Council for Area Studies Associations (UKCASA), where I represent African Studies.

I am an inaugural member of the Editorial Advisory Board (EAB) of Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute, and served as the journal’s reviews editor from 2012 to 2017. 

Publications

Monographs

  • 2009. Obafemi Awolowo and the Making of Remo: The Local Politics of a Nigerian Nationalist, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press for the International Africa Institute, 296 pp., ISBN 9780748638956. 
  • Also published as:
  • 2010a (USA edition). Obafemi Awolowo and the Making of Remo: The Local Politics of a Nigerian Nationalist, Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 296 pp., ISBN 1-59221-756-7.
  • 2010b (Nigeria edition). Obafemi Awolowo and the Making of Remo. The Local Politics of a Nigerian Nationalist,Ibadan: Bookbuilders and Safuran Publishers, 421 pp., ISBN 978-978-50022-1-8.

The book was launched in the UK (2009) and Nigeria (2011), and apart from academic reviews, it was discussed in a four-part article by Jide Osuntokun in The Nation, and also reviewed in other newspapers including The Vanguard, the Nigerian Compass and The Nigerian Tribune

Edited Volumes

The book will be published in Nigeria as:

  • 2017. ‘Ede is one Room’: Encounters between Muslims, Christians and Traditionalists in a Yoruba Town, Ondo: Adeyemi College Academic Publishers Ltd, 309 pp., ISBN 978-978-904-802-1.
  • 2016 (with Olukoya Ogen), Mobile Populations, Fluid Boundaries: Community, Trade and Religion in coastal Yorubaland and the Western Niger Delta, edited Proceedings of Conference held on 6-8 December at Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, Nigeria. Ondo: Adeyemi College Academic Publishers Ltd, 335 pp., ISBN 978-978-8013-86-0.

Special issues of peer-reviewed journals

  • Forthcoming 2017 (with Olukoya Ogen), Lead Guest Editor of Special Issue entitled “Views from the Shoreline: Community, Trade and Religion in coastal Yorubaland and the Western Niger Delta”, Yoruba Studies Review 1(2), pages tbc, ISSN 2473-4713.

Articles in scholarly journals

  • Forthcoming 2018 (with Keith Shear and Kevin Yelvington), “From Ethnographic Knowledge to Anthropological Intelligence: An anthropologist in the Office of Strategic Services in World War II Africa,” History and Anthropology, details tbc.
  • Forthcoming 2018 (with Clyde Ancarno and Rebecca Jones). “Using corpus methods to explore a survey on inter-religious relations in Yorubaland, southwestern Nigeria”, Corpora 13(1), pages tbc.
  • Forthcoming 2017 (with Olukoya Ogen). “Views from the shoreline: Community, trade, and religion in coastal Yorubaland and the Western Niger Delta”, Introduction to Special Issue of Yoruba Studies Review 1(2), pages tbc.
  • Forthcoming 2017. “New Histories of Marriage and Politics in Africa”, Gender & History 29(1), pages tbc.
  • 2016 (with Rebecca Jones, Khadijeh Taiyari and Giovanni Occhiali). “Exploring survey data for historical and anthropological research: Muslim-Christian relations in southwest Nigeria”, African Affairs 115 (460), 541-561.
  • 2016 (with Olukoya Ogen as first author). “Nigerian academia and the politics of secrecy”, Africa 86(2), 339-43.
  • 2013. “Colonial politics and precolonial history: Everyday knowledge, genre, and truth in a Yoruba town,” History in Africa 40(1), 1-40.
  • 2011 (with Nathaniel Danjibo and Oladeji Abubakar). “The Nexus Between Religion and Political Development in Nigeria: A Theoretical Discourse”, Research for Development: Journal of the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER) 24(1 & 2), 179-204.
  • 2008. “‘Without Women, Nothing Can Succeed’: Yoruba women in the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Nigeria”, Africa 78(1), 84-106.
  • 2007. “Ethnic Vigilantes and the State: The Oodua People’s Congress in southwestern Nigeria”, International Relations 21(2), 217-235.
  • 2005. “Identidade e violência: a política de juventude em Ijebu-Remo, Nigéria” in Revista Imaginário (Brazil) XI(11), 47-90. (Expanded translation of the 2004 article, with added images.)
  • 2004. “Identity and Violence: The Politics of Youth in Ijebu-Remo, Nigeria” in The Journal of Modern African Studies, 42(1), 61-89.
  • 2002. “Chieftaincy and the State in Abacha’s Nigeria: Kingship, Political Rivalry and Competing Histories in Abeokuta during the 1990s”, in Africa 72(3), 46-89. 
  • 2002. “Federalism and Communal Conflict in Nigeria”, in Journal of Regional and Federal Studies 12(1), 171-192. 
  • 2001. “Traditionelle Herrscher im modernen afrikanischen Staat: Das Beispiel Ijebu Remo in Nigerien” (“Traditional Rulers in the Modern African State: A Case Study of Ijebu Remo, Nigeria”) in Zeitschrift für Weltgeschichte (Germany) 2(2), 109-133.

Full-length chapters in edited books

  • 2017 (with Olukoya Ogen). " Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslims, Christians and Traditionalists in a Yoruba Town”, Introduction to Nolte, Ogen and Jones, (eds), Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslims, Christians and Traditionalists in an African Town, Rochester, NY: James Currey Publishers/ Boydell and Brewer, 1-30.
  • 2017 (with Aderemi Ajala). “Ambivalence and Transgression in the Practice of Ṣàngó”, in Nolte, Ogen and Jones (eds), Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslims, Christians and Traditionalists in an African Town, Rochester, NY: James Currey Publishers/ Boydell and Brewer, 57-74.
  • 2017 (with Tosin Akinjobi). “Marrying out: Gender and Religious Mediation in Interfaith Marriages in Ede”, in Nolte, Ogen and Jones (eds), Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslims, Christians and Traditionalists in an African Town, Rochester, NY: James Currey Publishers/ Boydell and Brewer, 207-226.
  • 2017 (with Rebecca Jones). “Everyday Inter-Religious Encounters and Attitudes”, in Nolte, Ogen and Jones (eds), Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslims, Christians and Traditionalists in an African Town, Rochester, NY: James Currey Publishers/ Boydell and Brewer, 227-256.
  • 2017 (with Olukoya Ogen). “Outlook: Religious Difference, Modernity, and the Yoruba”, in Nolte, Ogen and Jones (eds), Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslims, Christians and Traditionalists in an African Town, Rochester, NY: James Currey Publishers/ Boydell and Brewer, 257-266.
  • 2015. “Spirit: Histories of Religion and the Word”, in Casely-Hayford, Gus; Janet Topp Fargion and Marion Wallace (eds), West Africa: Cultures of the Word, London: British Library, 48-71.
  • 2013 (with Leena Hoffmann). “The roots of neopatrimonialism: Opposition politics and popular consent in Southwest Nigeria”, in Adebanwi, Wale and Ebenezer Obadare (eds), Continuities and Discontinuities: Democracy and Prebendal Politics Reconsidered,Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 2013. “Religion, Development and Politics in Nigeria: Religious groups between shared concern and competition” in Matthew Clarke (ed.), Handbook of Research on Development and Religion, Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • 2005. “Cultural Politics and Nationalist History: A Background to Wole Soyinka’s Ìsarà” in T. Falola (ed.), Christianity and Social Change in Africa: Essays In Honor of John Peel, Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 209-232.
  • 2005. with K. N. Amherd, “Religions (West Africa)” in D. Johnson et al. (eds), Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures, Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 422-428.
  • 2003. “Obas and Party Politics: The Emergence of a Postcolonial Political Identity in Ijebu-Remo, 1948-1966” in O. Vaughan (ed.), Indigenous Structures & Governance in Nigeria, Ibadan, Nigeria: Bookcraft Press, 131-167.
  • 2003. “Negotiating Party Politics and Traditional Authority: Obafemi Awolowo in Ijebu-Remo, Nigeria, 1949-1955” in W. van Binsbergen (ed.), The Dynamics of Power and the Rule of Law, Münster, Germany: LIT Verlag, 51-67.

Shorter contributions to edited/ reference books

  • 2016. “Kinship” in Falola, Toyin (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Yoruba, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 184-185.
  • 2007. “Political Systems: Chieftainchips”, in Middleton, John (ed.), New Encyclopedia of Africa, Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 173-176.
  • 2005. (with K. N. Amherd) “Religions (West Africa)” in Johnson, D. et al. (eds), Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures, Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 422-428.

Working papers

Policy briefs

Book reviews

  • Forthcoming 2017.  Review of Christianity, Islam and Orisha Religion by JDY Peel, Anthropos Vol. A 112/ 2017 (1), pages tbc.
  • 2012. “Re-examining the Yoruba Nation”. Review of A History of the Yoruba People by Steven Adebanji Akintoye in The Journal of African History, Vol. 52 (1), 419-421.
  • 2011. Review of A History of Nigeria by Toyin Falola and Matthew Heaton in Africa, Vol. 81 (4), 666-668.2010. Journal of African History.
  • “An Exploration of Nigeria’s Violent Colonial Past”. Review of Colonialism and Violence in Nigeria by Toyin Falola.
  • 2010. Bulletin of SOAS. Review of Yoruba Women, Work, and Social Change by Marjorie Keniston McIntosh.
  • 2010. H-Africa, H-Net Reviews. “No Innocent Detail: Exploring the Man-Leopard Murders of Southeast Nigeria”. Review of The Man-Leopard Murders: History and Society in Colonial Nigeria by David Pratten.  
  • 2010 Journal of Human Development and Capabilities. Review of Religion in Development by Severine Deneulin with Masooda Bano.
  • 2009. Social History of Alcohol and Drugs. Review of The King of Drinks. Schnapps Gin from Modernity to Tradition by Dmitri van den Bersselaar.
  • 2008. Social Anthropology/ Anthropologie Sociale. Review of A Culture of Corruption: Everyday Deception and Popular Discontent in Nigeria, by Dan J Smith.
  • 2008. Africa. Review of Yoruba Identity and Power Politics by Toyin Falola and Ann Genova (eds).
  • 2006. African Affairs. Review of The Pan-African Nation: Oil and the spectacle of culture in Nigeria, by Andrew Apter.
  • 2003. African Studies Quarterly. Review of Money Struggles and City Life: Devaluation in Ibadan and Other Urban Centers in Southern Nigeria, 1986-1996 by Jane Guyer, LaRay Denzer and Adigun Agbaje (eds).
  • 2002. Journal of Commonwealth History. Review of Federalism and Ethnic Conflict in Nigeria by Rotimi T. Suberu

Expertise

Nigerian history and politics, religion and corruption; Muslim-Christian relations; Yoruba history, historiography and ethno-national politics; Obafemi Awolowo

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