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Huron Awards 2022 Visiting Research Fellowship in African Canadian History

Sep 1 2021

Huron is proud to announce Olivette Otele, PhD, FRHistS, and Professor of History of Slavery and Memory of Enslavement at the University of Bristol as the 2022 Visiting Research Fellow with the Huron Community History Centre and the Department of History at Huron University.

While Professor Otele is a history-maker herself holding the distinction as the first Black woman in the United Kingdom to hold a Professorship in History. Alongside this barrier-breaking accomplishment, Professor Otele is also Fellow and Vice-President of the Royal Historical Society.

“Professor Otele brings to Huron a unique perspective, connecting our local histories of slavery and freedom in Ontario with trans-Atlantic and global historical processes,” said Associate Professor Thomas Peace, chair of Huron’s History Department. “Her scholarship and teaching has deeply influenced both faculty and students at Huron. She is a model scholar, whose work demonstrates how understanding history and its interpretation is integral to affecting change in our present and future.”

Professor Otele’s research focuses on examining the ways in which Britain and France address questions of citizenship, race and identity through the politics of remembrance. Her work delves into the value of public gestures, the meaning of public history and the impact of memory and memorialisation processes in public spaces. Her most recent book, African Europeans: An Untold Story (Hurst, 2020) was not only shortlisted for the 2021 Orwell Prize for Political Writing and but was also listed as a Best Book of 2020 by the GuardianHistory Today, and Waterstones.

Through Huron’s Community History Centre student Research Fellowship program, a Huron History student will have an opportunity to work with Professor Otele on her new Canadian research for her upcoming book entitled, Doorway to the World: 15 Ports that Built Empires Through Slavery.

Professor Otele’s connection to Huron also has its own historical roots as she helped establish the Phantoms of the Past research project with colleagues in Huron’s History and English and Cultural Studies departments, and was a Community Associate with Huron’s Centre for Undergraduate Research Learning in 2016-17.

Supported by the W. Galen Weston Fund for British History at Huron, the Visiting Fellowship extends Professor Otele’s long research collaboration with local African Canadian communities, and with faculty and student researchers at Huron.