Dr Insa Nolte

Dr Insa Nolte

Department of African Studies and Anthropology
Reader in African Studies
Head of Department of African Studies and Anthropology

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

Dr Nolte supervises doctoral research students working on African and Nigerian history, politics and development. Current and recent supervision topics include democratisation and godfatherism in Nigeria; women's empowerment in the Nigerian agricultural sector; Igala women traders and micro-credit enterprise in Jos, Nigeria; and political parties and democratisation in Nigeria.


Find out more - our PhD African Studies  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

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

Recent publications

Book

Nolte, I (ed.), Ogen, O & Jones, R (ed.) 2017, Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslim, Christian & Traditionalist Encounters in an African Town. Religion in Transforming Africa, James Currey.

Article

Nolte, I 2020, '‘At least I am married’: Muslim-Christian marriage and gender in southwest Nigeria', Social Anthropology / Anthropologie Sociale, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1111/1469-8676.12765

Nolte, I 2019, 'Introduction: learning to be Muslim in West Africa. Islamic engagements with diversity and difference', Islamic Africa, vol. 10, no. 1-2, pp. 11-25. https://doi.org/10.1163/21540993-01001001

Nolte, I 2019, 'The future of African Studies: What we can do to keep Africa at the heart of our research', Journal of African Cultural Studies, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 296-313. https://doi.org/10.1080/13696815.2019.1584552

Nolte, I, Shear, K & Yelvington, KA 2018, 'From ethnographic knowledge to anthropological intelligence: An Anthropologist in the Office of Strategic Services in Second World War Africa', History and Anthropology, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 52-82. https://doi.org/10.1080/02757206.2017.1322587

Nolte, I, Ancarno, C & Jones, R 2018, 'Inter-religious relations in Yorubaland, Nigeria: corpus methods and anthropological survey data', Corpora, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 27-64. https://doi.org/10.3366/cor.2018.0135

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Nolte, I 2018, Imitation and creativity in the establishment of Islam in Oyo. in T Green & B Rossi (eds), Landscapes, Sources, and Intellectual Projects in African History. African History, vol. 6, Brill, pp. 91-115.

Nolte, I & Ajala, A 2017, Ambivalence and Transgression in the Practice of Ṣàngó. in I Nolte, O Ogen & R Jones (eds), Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslim, Christian & Traditionalist Encounters in an African Town. Religion in Transforming Africa, African Studies, History of Religion, Politics & Economics, Boydell and Brewer, pp. 75-93.

Nolte, I & Ogen, O 2017, Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslims, Christians and Traditionalists in a Yoruba Town. in Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslim, Christian & Traditionalist Encounters in an African Town. Religion in Transforming Africa, African Studies, History of Religion, Politics & Economics, Boydell and Brewer, pp. 1-30.

Jones, R & Nolte, I 2017, Everyday Inter-religious Encounters and Attitudes. in I Nolte, O Ogen & R Jones (eds), Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslim, Christian & Traditionalist Encounters in an African Town. Religion in Transforming Africa, African Studies, History of Religion, Politics & Economics, James Currey, pp. 227-256.

Nolte, I & Akinjobi, T 2017, Marrying Out: Gender and Religious Mediation in Interfaith Marriages. in I Nolte, O Ogen & R Jones (eds), Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslim, Christian & Traditionalist Encounters in an African Town. Religion in Transforming Africa, African Studies, History of Religion, Politics & Economics, Boydell and Brewer, pp. 207-226.

Book/Film/Article review

Nolte, I 2020, 'Review of Mustapha & Ehrhardt (eds). Creed & grievance: Muslim-Christian relations & conflict resolution in northern Nigeria.', Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Nolte, I 2019, 'Boko Haram explained', The Political Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-923X.12673

Nolte, I 2019, 'The contingencies of Yoruba masquerading', Journal of African History.

Review article

Nolte, I 2017, 'New Histories of Marriage and Politics in Africa', Gender and History, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 742–748. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0424.12326

View all publications in research portal

Expertise

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

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office

Expertise

 

  • Gender inequality
  • Religious coexistence
  • Development policy
  • Community relations

Other information