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New Faculty Spotlight

 Welcome Akin Ogundiran! 


Akin Ogundiran (Ph.D., Boston, 2000) is broadly interested in the archaeology and history of Africa over the past 2,500 years, with emphasis on the Yoruba world (West Africa). His earlier research efforts sought to understand the impacts of global/regional political economies on community formations and how social actors created knowledge, communities, and identities with objects and the landscape. Ogundiran’s current research intersects cultural, political economy, and environmental approaches to study the history of complex social systems at different scales—e.g., household, urbanism, and empire. His ongoing field projects are in three parts: the archaeology and history of an Early Iron Age community formation (400 BC-100 AD); the political economy and social ecology of the Oyo Empire (1570-1830); and the landscape history of the Osun-Osogbo Grove—a UNESCO World Heritage Site (ca. 1590 to the present), all in southwest Nigeria. His methodology is eclectic, ranging from archaeology, orality, and ritual archives to geosciences, landscape studies, language, performance, material life, and documentary sources. He is also interested in the cultural history of the Black Atlantic. Ogundiran directs the Material History Lab in the Department of History.

Dr. Ogundiran has received support for his research from the National Geographic Society, Archaeological Institute of America, National Humanities Center, Carnegie Foundation, Dumbarton Oaks, Social Science Research Council, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, National Endowment for the Humanities, and American Philosophical Society, among others.

Before coming to Northwestern University, Ogundiran taught at Florida International University (2001-2008) and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (2008-2023).

He has served as Editor-in-Chief of African Archaeological Review since 2019 and was the Program Chair of the 136th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association in 2021-23 (Philadelphia).


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