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Cameroonian Scholar Olivette Otele Is Now the UK's First Black Woman History Professor

The colonial and post-colonial expert was appointed professorship and a chair in history at Bath Spa University.

This Cameroonian-born scholar and historian has finally been acknowledged for her contributions to academia in a history-making way this week.

Dr. Olivette Otele, a colonial and post-colonial specialist, has been appointed professorship and a chair in history at Bath Spa University, BBC confirms. This makes her Britain's first black women history professor.

The historian also made the announcement on Twitter, where she hopes this accomplishment makes way for black women and women of color to shake more tables in academia and in history.


Dr. Otele earned a PhD in history from Universite La Sorbonne in France. Her concentration included "examining questions related to the transatlantic slave trade, slave societies, identities and post-colonial societies in the Atlantic world," according to her personal statement on Bath Spa University's website.

"I wanted to work on poetry/literature but a huge sense of injustice and the need to inquire into the roots of inequality took over," she says, explaining what made her pursue a career in history, to The History Vault. "I was determined to make African-American historian and activist Anna Julia Cooper proud."

She's currently researching transnational history and the connection between history, collective memory and geopolitics in relation to British and French colonial pasts.

Afro-Europeans: A Short History is Dr. Otele's forthcoming book. It will be the first academic text that dives deep into the long history of people of African descent in Europe.

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