Boluwatife Akinro

PhD Researcher

Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
Room 2.009
Niebuhrstraße 5
D-53113 Bonn
+49 228 73 62454

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Academic Profile

The Memorialization of Domestic Slavery in Southwest Nigeria

My research investigates the legacy of domestic slavery in contemporary Yoruba communities of southwestern Nigeria. Slavery was an important social and political phenomenon in pre-colonial Yorubaland, and its intensification during the 19th Century had transformative effects on the region. In contrast to other sending and receiving societies however, slavery and its impacts are rarely memorialized in Nigerian academia or public discourse. I hypothesize that the memory of domestic slavery remains visible in the structure of extended family relationships, and I view the traditional Yoruba compound (Ilé) as a site of asymmetrical dependency. Using ethnographic field research in predominantly Yoruba towns, I demonstrate the lasting impact of 19th century domestic slavery on contemporary social and familial networks. 

Akinro, Boluwatife. “Between Pride and Prejudice: Thoughts of Conducting Ethnographic Research in a City of Greatness”. Dependency Blog. 4 March, 2024.

Lawal, Wale and Boluwatife Akinro. “Come and See: The Redeeming Inventiveness of Kenneth Ize and Mowalola Ogunlesi”. The Republic. 25 August, 2021. 

Akinro, Boluwatife. “Politics of Happiness: Nollywood in Nigeria's Crisis of Happiness”. The Republic. 18 January, 2021. 

Akinro, Boluwatife and Joshua Segun-Lean. “The Prophetic Vision of Chinua Achebe: Reclaiming Africa's Past, Writing its Present, Shaping its Future”. The Republic. 13 January, 2020. 

Akinro, Boluwatife and Joshua Segun-Lean, "Beyoncé and the Heart of Darkness". Africasacountry. 2019. 

Akinro, Boluwatife. “Creating Africa: Africa in the Global Contest of Looking and Representation”. The Republic. 24 June, 2019.

Akinro, Boluwatife. (Panel Co-Organizer). “The Legacy of Internal Slavery in Contemporary Nigeria”. Lagos Studies Association Conference. June 2024. 

Akinro, Boluwatife. (Presenter). “Second Class Family: Tradition and Dependency in the Yoruba Household Structure”. Presented at the conference: Household as Coercive Regimes Conference. International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam. November 2023.

Akinro, Boluwatife. (Presenter). “Fictive Kinship and the Vestiges of Slavery in a Yoruba Town”. Presented at the conference: Authoring Human Rights in West Africa and Beyond. University of Cape Coast, Ghana. January 2023.

Akinro, Boluwatife. (Co-moderator). Tori and Lokita (2022). BCDSS Film Series: “Who's Got the Power?”. September, 2023.

Akinro, Boluwatife. (Co-moderator). La Pirogue. BCDSS Film Series: “Who's Got the Power?”. April, 2022.

Akinro, Boluwatife. (Presenter). “Vassals and Vagrants: Value and Belonging in Yorubaland from c. 19th Century till Present”. University of Zurich, Switzerland. March, 2022.

since 2021            
Ph.D. in Cultural Studies, Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, University of Bonn, Germany

M.A. in English and American Studies, University of Paderborn, Germany

B.A. in Honours, English and International Studies, Osun State University, Nigeria

since 2021             
Research Associate, Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, University of Bonn, Germany

Research Assistant, "Hybrid Narrativity Research Group," Universität Paderborn, Germany

Student Assistant, University of Paderborn, Germany

Editor (Intern), Education as A Vaccine (EVA), Nigera

“Preis für herausragende Abschlussarbeiten und besonderes studentisches Engagement der Universitätsgesellschaft” (2020)

DAAD Prize for Outstanding Achievement (2018)

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